Growing up, one could easily differentiate the peace that was enjoyed during the military regimes and the crises that have been occasioned by the emergence of democracy. The military regime had the capacity to deploy swift responses to unrests that erupted and it also has capacity to hire and fire without any fear of political backlashes. There were whimsical tendencies over pronouncement of policies and cancellation of any. Such makes the citizenry to develop and live with fear of consequences for negative actions that were capable of disturbing the peace of the society.
The need for respect for hierarchy and successions also makes appointed individuals to have the zeal to succeed on given appointments and there’s also less familiarities with people you’re superintending over because like in state governments, the administrators are usually not from the various states they are posted to so the relationship automatically becomes that of work and delivery. Little wonder why the major achievements in the nation had been arguably made during the military eras where processes were mostly whimsical alongside the bureaucratic processes, a combination that somewhat worked less for freedom of speech and association which was largely absent.
Fast forward to the emergence of democracy where expectations were that of freedom of association and participation as good as they are but with their resultant challenges which could sometimes threaten the basic existence of the society. Democracy is indeed supposed to be a very progressive mode of governance owing to the opportunity for participation by all of the members of the society containing people with different modes of ingenuity. However, the only Ingredients to getting the optimum benefits of this beautiful democracy as described above is the sanity of the players. How sane are our own players in Nigeria? The crises that have ridden the nation and their resultant causes are a perfect answer to that.
A check into the major crises that had engulfed Nigeria from the emergence of democracy in 1999 to date showcases them to be a result of political militias that had been formulated for the sake of overpowering opponents and then ultimately transforming into monsters that cannot be tamed by even those who brought about them in the first place. The only thing that can make one choose to make such a decision of employing militias for election victory is intellectual weakness to be able to formulate strategies that are sound enough to win elections.
Our democracy has only harbored very intellectually lazy individuals who see elections as a ‘do-or-die’ affair thanks also to the lucrative nature of the politics even though that is normal everywhere. The people who feel they are intellectuals prefer to sit by the side to analyze and criticize and surprisingly also, when some of them get the opportunity to get in, they transform to become like the others and the cycle keeps rotating. The infiltration of these thuggish people into Nigeria’s political space is majorly responsible for Nigerias current state and something requires to be done to save the imminent breakdown of the society.
A lot of people had encouraged President Muhammadu Buhari to employ a military tactic in dealing with lots of issues just like President Obasanjo did which worked for him in the cases of Plateau, Benue, Ekiti and Bayelsa. People however forget that the circumstances have changed in the sense that democracy had just come during Obasanjo while it has become more entrenched now with different lawyers interpreting the constitution the way they deem fit, most times sentimentally.
I was having a conversation with a friend lately over the likelihood of the emergence of Kashim Shettima as the National chairman of the APC with a view to cleansing the political system to pay more attention to excellence as against brigandage as qualification for political participation. I totally concurred with such idea owing to the feat Kashim had attained in Borno with the support he gave to a brave professor to succeed him as governor and the progress such has brought to the state is story for another day. In fact, a university professor had emerged as a local government chairman in the recently held local councils elections and such is exemplifying cleansing of the system.
It is all of these that has made us to continue to encourage participation in the system especially by those who feel they have got what it takes to lead and make a difference. Those who believe that only ideas and strategies can win them elections and not thuggery and guns. Such and more are what is fueling the #DigitalAgenda23 with a view of propelling Dr Isa Ali Pantami as our mentor while all of us follows as proponents to expand the ideology for national development.
May the Lord help us with our efforts to sanitize our polity for national developments. Ameen!
For every serious democrat and pundit, it should be clear and perhaps told that Nigeria’s democracy is growing and such also requires growth in strategies for winning elections. We cannot be in a rush to forget the major factors that made PDP loose elections after 16 years at the helm. Such major factor was arrogance and a feeling of nobody matters including those who clearly had goodwill and voters to bring on board. They jumped ship to the APC and the rest is history today.
Let me remind us all of the political events of Jigawa state that produced Alhaji Muhammad Badaru as governor, destined definitely but the processes are worth being reviewed. Everyone in the state has attested to the fact that Pharm. Hashim Ubale Yusufu alongside the current governor of-course had nursed the party from UNCP, APP, ANPP, ACN and finally APC. Prior to the 2015 elections, the Pharmacist looked all clear and good to clinch the ticket of the party for the governorship elections, however, sometimes politics tilts a little away from calculations and could fall on dark horses but one that would not be surprising at all.
As a Democrat who understands loyalty to causes as the only way to benefit from it, he stayed back in the party and continued to Labour for it despite not given any federal or state appointment as compensation for hard work. He continued to manage his supporters with the resources at his disposal until 2019 when he gave another shot at the number 1 job in line with the principle of never give up spirit. Again even though he lost to the incumbent at the primaries, he continued in his loyalty stead and still there supporting and drumming support and understanding towards the government of Badaru.
Against such backdrop, I had to sit back to understand the saying that once you Labour for politics, it sure has a way of paying back even if not directly. We are approaching a very turbulent political period for the APC where Buhari is going to be very less of a factor. Where there are going to be much more need for strategy and goodwill. Because even though the APC has done well, we should not forget the mindset of rent seeking of our citizens who feel the APC has truncated their cheap ways of making money without understand the party’s motive of entrenching hard work and legitimate earnings.
The mindset of such people makes them vulnerable to whatever kind of campaign the opposition parties will come with and you cannot give a chance to that. I have said it in many other write ups I’ve done that we are going to be faced with an election that will leave pundits with so much difficulty predicting outcomes of elections at different levels up until the day of elections. The electorates have become wiser than in 2019 and that’s how the trajectory will continue to rise until when our democracy will grow to an enviable height where only acceptable and credible people will emerge from political processes. No one should take anything for granted in this coming season especially if they are serious about winning.
Having said all these, let me narrow such scenarios to Jigawa State where it’s has been very difficult for pundits like us to understand who might likely become the candidate for the governorship. The argument for the Hadeijia Emirate to be considered for never been at the number one seat is heating up with names like Pharm. Hashim Ubale himself being mentioned amongst other people like Ibrahim Hassan, Kashifu Inuwa, Mohammed Babandede at the top of the list. One may not be able to easily predict how it could pan out especially with a governor like Badaru who is top notch in information management.
However, whichever way it goes, one thing that is sure is that the goodwill and political capital that Pharmacist Hashim can bring to the table is unprecedented and cannot be toiled with. A case study is the President Muhammad Buhari who continued to contest without people understanding that his political capital had continued to increase until it became a jewel that Tinubu and co utilized to actualize the 2015 electoral victory against an incumbent.
My advise to the APC in Jigawa therefore is that of caution and management of the Hashimiyya bloc with utmost sincerity and openness. After all, the principal has proven to be someone who understands dialogue and compromises when necessary. All actors have to jettison acts like betrayals, envy and hate and inculcate a team spirit so as not to repeat the mistake of PDP in 2015 that made their house crash on their heads for not respecting party members who had clear goodwill to bring to the table. Conversations, dialogues, consultations and engagements are the way to go for APC in Jigawa but in all of it, the Hashimiyya bloc is indeed very critical.
May the best man win!
God bless Jigawa state and Nigeria!
You will all agree with me that the major identity that could qualify any society to be part of the new world is digitization and once it is adopted and consolidated upon, such society becomes connected to the world by way of intellectual and economic development.
It is also not a news that Jigawa had long identified ICT and digitization through the initiation of the Galaxy Backbone fibre internet company as well as the famous Kazaure Informatics, the subject matter of this write up, Mr Kashifu Inuwa is well informed about this and can be said to in a way be a product of such initiative. Jigawa is today blessed with numerous human resources in the ICT sector as a result of these laudable initiatives piloted by Alhaji Saminu Turaki, the then executive governor of the state.
While all of the above policies may have resulted in the production of numbers of individuals that are digital savvy, there was also a need for the consolidation of such by broadening the scope of the whole policy to end up at empowerment and increased awareness of how to utilise digital knowledge for economic gains and this gap was what I saw Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of the Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency identified and collaborated with the Jigawa Government to attempt to bridge.
The attempt was laudable enough to be brought to the fore for the sake of those who may not have had opportunity to get the information or decipher the intent. Young people who have obtained digital knowledge through Informatics Institute, Kazaure or the various interventions that Mr Kashifu has developed throughout the state must understand the need to key into these initiatives with a view to taking away ways and methods that such knowledge could be utilised for economic gains.
The Jigawa Innovation Summit was piloted by Mr Kashifu and the Governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar on Monday, 18th January, 2021 with clear roadmaps on how to utilise ICT to develop the Agric sector which is Jigawa’s backbone for economic prosperity. There was appropriate awareness through the various media handles to let the youths become aware of the digital drift that was imminent for any meaningful development in today’s world.
From the trend of the policies of Mr Kashifu which had started with Dr Isa Pantami and continued till date, it was clear that these attempts are going to be continues with so much prospects. I had earlier written about Mr Kashifu’s exhibition of youthful qualities of energy and zeal enough to see to the fruition of any agenda or policy that has been started on https://www.premiumtimesng.com/promoted/409867-one-year-at-nitda-kashifu-as-a-vindication-of-youth-excellence-in-governance-by-hashim-suleiman.html . This is enough to get one to be optimistic about the prospects of these attempts.
I also wish to refer to my Open Letter to Muhammad Badaru Abubakar after his 2015 victory on the need for the utilisation of youths in the delivery of his mandates https://magarya.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/an-open-letter-to-his-excellency-mohammed-badaru-abubakar-governor-elect-jigawa-state/. It is now also clear how such an opinion was becoming clearer and vindicated by the synergy that Mr Kashifu and the governor are forging towards the development of a sector that will see to the upliftment of millions of youths remotely, in fact such is the real future.
Charity they say begins at home and the quick identification of the way forward for Jigawa State as far as digitization is concerned by Mr Kashifu is enough to make one become even more optimistic regarding what is to come from the sector under the superintendence of the progressive gentleman.
For some of us, we are committed to echoing display of progressive tendencies for the utilization of an economically insecure upcoming generations.
PANTAMI’S DIGITAL POLICIES ARE THE REAL DEAL, OUR PESSIMISM AND INTERESTS ARE THE PROBLEM; A REJOINDER TO SHAKA MOMODU’S THISDAY ARTICLE By Hashim Suleiman
By their pseudo names and hidden identities, one will simply identify where such vituperations like the one posited by one Shaka Momodu through his article posted on Thisday newspaper of 1st January, 2020 are coming from. You would understand it to be related to the position of some mischievous industry players who’s interest is other than national interest. Such positions could also be of those who are hell bent on frustrating the emergence of the new class of politicians who don’t bow to mediocrity.
The writer pointed to why people would be asked to gather to pick up their NIN’s as if the minister ever mentioned such specific instruction in his press releases. Yes people must pick up their NIN’s and whether they prefer last minute rush for a policy that has been in existence for years is left for people like Shaka to be asked regarding how much they’ve done with their pens to help liberate the people into inculcating positive mindset and patriotism.
Shaka never also took his pen to write to the banks to stop people from going to the banks while observing the COVID-19 protocols. We never also saw him write when all the campaigns were going on in Lagos of recent and Ondo and Edo before then. Even the recently rescued over 300 students had to meet Mr President under strict COVID-19 protocols. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has and is still issuing out these protocols for the adherence of the citizenry, if such people choose to prefer last minute rush and equally evade the protocols, hows that an issue of Pantami?
The writer also pointed to BVN and the rest which are policies that have been there but may not even be as old as the NIN policy, the only thing missing on the NIN policy Ab initiio was a Go Getter like Dr Pantami who would stand for the policy to get implemented regardless of the works of mischief makers like Shaka and the realistically difficult Nigerians attitude to progressive policies. Not all Nigerians have bank accounts or drive but every Nigerian is expected to have a NIN and that must be achieved against all odds God’s willing.
He also went ahead to share a press statement issued by the NCC which in my opinion was typical of a regulatory body and which we encourage all other regulators to do like the NERC for electricity and others. But the writer felt it was issuing directives and threatening. What else did he want a regulatory body to do in a country with pessimist like him as citizens? Such questioning made his position to be suspicious towards being sponsored by some industry cabal whose interests are indeed other than national interest.
INEC usually opens up their voter card registration a year to two before elections but it is at the last hour of elections that Nigerians would start trooping in and complaining to the heavens about the inefficiency of INEC and one would continue to appreciate the difficulties that Nigerian policy makers go through especially very serious ones like Pantami.
For how long are we going to be playing cheap politics with every issue especially very serious ones. Why must we always take advantage of the innocent gullibility of some Nigerians and be spewing hate comments and pessimistic tendencies which would make them not supportive to government or viewing government as their enemies over attempts geared towards bettering their lots. We were in this country when months ago the National Assembly summoned the minister over sim registration as related to insecurity. Same Nigerians like Shaka pounced on the minister over something they know so little about it’s challenges.
The minister and his team have been up and doing regarding all the concerns of the senate and Nigerians, what’s missing is the needed support from some of the industry players like Shaka’s sponsors who are all about the profit and not the well being of the country. However, Pantami’s sincerity of purpose will defeat that with the help of God. When is ever going to be a Perfect time to initiate any policy in Nigeria? When will the mischief makers and naysayers ever allow Nigeria to prosper from efforts of professionals like Pantami?
These questions and the absence of their answers at the moment should spur Dr Pantami to ignore such barks and ride on as it’s only posterity that would vindicate him.
As for Shaka who wrote and refused to share his contact and identity, here’s mine below in case of opting up for a public debate on the matter. Regards
Let me use this yuletide season to shine my torch on Pastor Yemi Osibajo who at the moment is top most Christian official of the country and a person who has never lost sight of such a responsibility by behaving and acting appropriately. Such quality has silently endeared him to the people and due to his nature you can only know that when you personally ask peoples opinion about him or APC and 2023.
Due to his nature that I have described above and his not being the everyday politician, he may not be the favorite for political headlines by media and pundits but people like us who take extra mile to observe and analyze our everyday changing and growing democracy do see so many likely permutations of which Osinbajo appears the most likely for consensus sake all the way.
Let me make a reminder to my earlier article of November 4, 2019 titled ‘Pantami as near perfect fit for 2023 permutations’ https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2019/11/04/isa-ali-pantami-as-near-perfect-fit-for-the-2023-permutations-by-hashim-suleiman/ where I had identified Tinubu’s clear interest in the game but could be stalled by a likely need for pairing with a Muslim like Pantami which is doable but with its attendant challenges and as such a pairing of Pantami with a Christian could be a more perfect fit. Such a Christian is gradually turning out for me to be Osinbajo.
Events have come and gone after the above article and in fact the race for the 2023 is becoming clearer with so much interests for the presidency in the APC and none of them is likely ready to shift grounds for the other, little wonder why Pastor TundeBakare had to attempt to shut some of those camps who are hell bent on truncating Asiwaju Tinubu’s ambition for the 2023 presidency bid. It is not likely that those camps are going to pull back their ‘shakabula’ guns as a result of Bakare’s sermon and one thing Bakare also forgot is that in politics such guns may not kill but they may be spoilers in a supposed well planned operation. Regardless of all these however, Tinubu has continued his reach out to all parts of the country from Sheikh Bin Usman’s daughter’s wedding in Kano to Maiduguri on a condolence for the incident at Jere local Government.
Furthermore, it is not longer news that Kayode Fayemi and his crew are nursing their own agenda with him being the presidential candidate or pairing with a northerner as vice. The Goodluck Jonathan card is also flying and a friend just recently whispered another card of Orji Uzor Kalu perhaps to placate the Igbos. The people who fly these cards are mostly those who are vehemently against Tinubu’s candidature and I’m not sure they are ready to support it for whatever reason and I’m also not sure if Asiwaju himself is ready to go ahead with his agenda without all these erring groups in the APC or in other words the APC being intact.
Make no mistake to think the Asiwaju who is a benefactor of Osinbajo is not fully qualified or does not enjoy my personal support for the presidency owing to my belief in his progressive principle which I had also enumerated in the November 4, 2019 article I made reference to in the third paragraph above but the realistic fact is there are so many land mines which do not appear pleasant for both his party and himself should he insist to go ahead. The first major challenge will be that of the religious pairing unless well insist to have a repeat of the muslim-muslimticket of 1993 and whether such would fly could be left to the further strategy meetings that would be held and such meetings must be made with sincerity of purpose, lucky enough Osinbajohad informed us in one of the Colloquiums that Tinubu holds his meetings with such openness during his governorship days and could give in on superior progressive arguments. The second major hurdle would be those other groups who would back out in the event of the emergence of an Asiwaju candidature. Such would leave the APC very weakened to go into the election and there would also be anti party activities.
Against the backdrop of all of the above, Osinbajo appears to be the most perfect candidate to mitigate all of the above challenges. He is a Christian of repute who could easily fit into pairing with another Muslim of repute. He fits into the class of the new breed politicians that the Nigerian youths clamor for on a daily. Apart from being a graduate of the Asiwaju School of progressive politics, he is a very close friend and confidant of all the other groups who might be opposing an Asiwajucandidature. Osinbajo had worked as meticulously as bagging enough friends from the opposition PDP.
If all of these are not enough pointers for a likely date with destiny then what could ever be more. Time shall tell however, but it’s instructive for the APC family to look inwards and make appropriate decisions against the 2023 elections which is fast approaching.
But Osinbajo does appear as the most suitable consensus candidate for the APC.
The outing at the GITEX, 2020 in Dubai showcased clearly how much Pantami had been much ready for leadership and is simply showcasing it without stress. He looked the part, the show was classy and you had a semblance of a nation that was ready to communicate with the world as far as digital concerns are the matters.
One thing you can give to Pantami and could help you understand his person better is the fact that he understands the importance of media in all his activities. Let me tell you for free that America is as progressive as it is because of the greatness of their media, no one can know about what you’re doing no matter how great if you don’t showcase it to them. This also demonstrates an ability to recognize the importance of all sections of the society which is an important attribute of leadership.
You cannot help but come across the giant strides that are daily becoming realities. Everyone would be proud sharing such stories because they fit for real progressive strides. You would want to beam a searchlight on such a personality and equally disseminate it as a way of contributing to mentorship in the society, a virtue that we possess in the negative.
Some of us have since identified that with the appropriate appointment of capable individuals as well as respect for excellence, the job of fixing Nigeria was a very easy one because Nigeria has more than enough to advertise to the world, the only needed thing was for the people of the world to see seriousness, purpose and capacity. Pantami has used his appearances at international fora to showcase a renewed zeal and capacity for businesses and idea sharing with regards to the development of the digital policies of Nigeria that he superintends.
I watched with interest how the 2020 version of GITEX, Dubai finally gave a reason why every reasonable Nigerian youth would take Pantami and put him right in front for the purpose of future leadership. There was pump in the Nigeria’s stand, there was activities around the Startup Pavilions, there was pageantry that looked the part. It was simply a show of a serious nation that was ready to mingle among the world big players in the ICT Ecosystem.
Something worthy of note is the fact that Nigeria is the largest black nation on earth and as such every global event they attend, they are simply representing the black race and Nigeria did wonderfully well in blending and looking the part. We engaged, contributed to the topics discussed and by the leader of the delegation himself as well as other speakers.
There was some good investments in dollars that is coming in, there was a powerful meeting with the Dubai Silicon Oasis and there was clear seriousness and respect on the parts of the participants.
Such are the kinds of activities that could attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment that was capable of placing the country on the path of critical growth, one which will provide employment opportunities to countless people. China is what it is today due to the patronage of the world. We need as much as can be attracted. Kudos Dr Pantami.
We have always insisted there must be conversations around our intent for growth and such conversation can only become meaningful with prospects when stories and strategies like those of Pantami are shared as case studies. The work we need does not need magic, it only takes knowledge and strategy. It needs work and more work to be put in and we need sustainability. Pantami has been running since he assumed office as DG, NITDA and even after the accumulation of more work, the energy looks good as ever.
This should encourage us to forge a front with a view to crystallizing to make the country we wish for ourselves. We have to identify the people with the KnowHow and give them responsibilities because it’s sure going to be a progressive outcome.
The discussion about Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence was the catch for me in the 2020 GITEX because they are the bedrock of commercial digitization. It affords nations and ventures to maximize revenue and its money you need to do every other endeavor. Nations and business need more money and money and such can only come through investments that were capable of remotely engaging a high number of individuals who can spend on it. Such investments are ICT, the telecom and data industry can never go broke because even in whatever situation, there would always be need for communication and data.
Kudos to Dr Pantami!
They say in recent times that if you don’t blow your trumpets, no one will on your behalf and this is the case of democracy in Nigeria in terms of the citizenry not being able to count the so many goods it has brought to us as a nation.
I remember vividly in 1999 when this second republic started how easy it was for people to emerge on the leading parties in the different enclaves and once they emerged they were as good as winners even though we had only one party as far as power in the center was concerned. It would only be luck if a society ended up with people of conscience as leaders because of little or no room for choices. The people also cared less because there was very less awareness about democracy and what it stood to bring to the citizenry. There was also no social media at the time.
One of the first major dividends the democracy brought was the GSM telephone and I wonder why people don’t celebrate such a huge achievement that has afforded us the opportunity to be aware of so many things through the social media and communications with fellow humans across the globe be it business partners, friends, families or acquaintances.
Furthermore, depending on how lucky a state became in terms of the emergence of governors, a lot of the states have changed for good with a lot of them bearing major bridges and improved infrastructure that minimizes congestion as a result of increasing population. In fact just recently, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was in Kano and was toured round the city by the governor to witness tunnels and bridges built by the Kwankwaso-Ganduje administrations. If this is not major contribution of democracy, what could be more?
We should not be quick to also forget the super minister of FCT Nasiru Elrufai who was a product of democracy and who stood to save our nation capital from collapse. He returned it back to the path of international city standard. Such feat went on to make him sellable to become the governor of Kaduna State for two terms and the people of the state are the happier ones about such a decision.
There are also the Okonjo Iweala’s of this clime who came and drafted a robust economic plan for Nigeria that saw the digitization of major financial activities of the government such as payment of salaries and contracts as well as the ramping up revenue collection .
The recent Dr Isa Ali Pantami cannot be left behind as a major contribution of democracy to Nigeria. He has deliberately put the nation on the track for digitization and the lack of it I make bold to say has been one of the major bane of our development. We need improved revenues owing to the explosion in population and other than agriculture which is a slow source of revenue, ICT is the quickest and perhaps the largest revenue earner in the world right now.
Policies like privatization, contributory pensions and different key agencies brought about by acts of parliament have broadened the government and revenue sources as well as providing employment opportunities for the citizenry. They may not be perfect at the moment, but going forward market forces will force them to improve. We never knew a time would come when we’ll be able to pay for our electricity from the comfort of our home. All these are improvements that require only the discerning to take a pause and see a need to celebrate and be optimistic for many more things to come just like them.
Talking about elections, there have been major improvements leading to more and more incumbents loosing elections. There has evidently been increased pressure from the citizenry over the need for improved performances and the leaders daily see a need for them to perform at-least for posterity purposes. The governors of Bauchi and Adamawa lost their elections as incumbents in the 2019 elections while the governor of Kano narrowly escaped. We can’t forget how GEJ lost as incumbent too. The powerful Oshiomole could not mobilize the center to help in defeating Obaseki as governor of Edo State. All these are indicators of the fact that the democracy is improving by the day but can only be appreciated by the optimists.
While all of the above are realities to how much democracy has improved and brought to Nigeria, it was important for me to notify you of why there is less appreciation of it. It simply has to do with lack of awareness and understanding of democratic processes. Democracy is a participatory system of government, if you choose not to participate, you’ll naturally have to expect very less from it. Please do not misconstrue participation to mean contesting for election as the case currently. Activities like picking voters card, voting, participating in debates, activism and patriotism are all part of participation in a democracy. When we all pay attention to the kinds of leaders we vote in and troupe out to vote them and defend our votes, our societies will be the better for it, we have to quit not caring and allowing luck determine emergence of good leaders.
When good leaders emerge, they develop the sectors such as education which will improve the mental capability of the citizenry to understand the principles of democracy and how to benefit from them. Government policies will be there, but when there’s no interest and participation, you may never know and could continue to forever assume the government is not performing.
Democracy is also naturally a slow process of governance owing to the checks and balances between the various compartments making up the entire government. Nobody does anything at their whims and caprices. There has to be adherence to rule of law even if it’s pretense.
Democracy and Politics is about interest and if you have any interest be it the citizenry or politician, you have to choose how to participate as enumerated above. Government spokespersons have to learn to communicate such narratives for the awareness of the citizenry and appropriation of expectations.
I have been opportune to have lived in all of the geopolitical zones of my country Nigeria and I have found no reason why any of the regions would feel they are entirely better than any other because
I have found every region to have its own peculiar problem and share of bigotry which is one of the major problem of the nation.
For example, I have lived in the Niger Delta region where it is a norm for a girl of as low as 13 years to be pregnant out of wedlock and give birth. I knew this even more when I was a ‘youth Corp’ and teaching in an SS1 class in a secondary school which has the students being at an average of 13 years but I had at-least 2 of my students get pregnant during that session and it was very normal with the parents. I then get dumbfounded when I see a person from that region despising the northerners on underage marriage, if this is not bigotry, what could be more?
Growing up also in the northern city of Kano, I wondered how a blasphemy issue which happened in a far away country would be responsible for people living their normal lives in the city to pay for it. I also remember the Reinhard Burnke visit to Nigeria which caused people living their normal lives to pay for it. This I considered bigotry of the highest order and I then wonder why a person from such region will despise the Igbo man for choosing to exhibit hatred towards them.
I have also worked in the south west Nigeria where despite showcasing my technical prowess, I was considered not to know anything simply because of the sound of my name which depicted what tribe I was. Someone whom you know you’re practically better than would choose to disrespect you because of your tribe and that I consider an extremely bigoted tendency.
As for the south east, yes they are considered to be business savvy but that has gotten to their head to think they are better than everyone to the extent that they can’t open their minds to respect that the other regions are at-least politically better than them. This has led them into a very dangerous envy which has transformed into hatred. This is definitely another form of bigotry that’s most unfortunate.
In all of the above, I have at some time stopped to associate it with illiteracy in all of the regions but I was wrong because you would find the most educated of each of these regions exhibiting these attitude and character and I concluded that the issue has become endemic and requires some sort of spiritual intervention or a deliberate attempt at investing heavily in national orientation.
This attempt is just a very brief analysis of some of the issues and are not exhaustive in all of the cases and other micro groups with theirs too. However, I am sure everyone reading this regardless of what group they belong would be able to take a pause and re-examine and make a sense of where theirs falls into that bigoted class that requires fixing for national cohesion.
No region of this country is entirely saintly or better than the other. Each of the region has its peculiar problem that has become a bane of its development and cumulatively that of the nation. City’s like New York and Dubai have become great city’s owing to the acceptability of foreigners who would come in with different progressive tendencies. Lagos has exhibited somewhat that until lately when all these bigoted narratives started to show its head and one can see the result in all the destructions that happened to the city lately.
Any society that doesn’t believe and concentrate on research and improvements will have itself to blame for any eventualities related to retrogression.
THE SOUTHERN COALITION AND THEIR LONG ATTEMPTS TO CO-OPT MIDDLE BELT AS POLITICAL MIS-STRATEGY? By Hashim Suleiman
It is no longer news to any keen observer of the political space that since about 2012 till now, the southern coalition comprising of the PANDEF, OHANEZE AND AFENIFERE have been making attempts at trying to co-opt the middle belt forum to form a part of them with a view to forming some sort of political alliance perhaps to whittle down the influence of the very politically powerful northern Nigeria. However, till date we have obviously not seen or felt the effect of such efforts and could at best be considered a political mis-strategy.
One could have thought the southern Nigeria should by now have learnt enough of politics from the north but it doesn’t seem so. On a generality, Nigerians have become so entangled that it’ll be so difficult to dismember. It is also so with all the regions especially the northern region which is more vast and diverse than the others because the leaders of the region have for a long time enjoyed political power devoid of sentiment. Jeremiah Useni from Plateau state was at some point the most powerful person in the administration of Sani Abacha. Even recently, Boss Mustapha is the Secretary to the Government of the federation. How then is someone going to succeed in truly dividing these elites under such a bond?
The only thing the narratives by these southern leaders could do is to divide the voters to sway some little of them to their side but such votes would be insignificant to cause any harm to the northern agenda. Every time they hold their meetings, I pay keen attention to the members of the middle belt forum who attend and have never found any political heavy weight that was capable of bringing forth any votes or influence. Honestly, I have hardly recognized any of those that are called to attend such meetings as leaders of the middle belt.
Such kinds of activities leaves one to believe the popular saying that the southern Nigeria has not still learnt from the best despite being together in this union for over 60 years now. Politics is a science that requires research and strategy and one thing the north knows how to do is ensuring high level of inclusion especially for the minorities of the region. One cannot understand this till you look very closely. Do not forget that the secretary of the Sardauna of Sokoto was Sunday Awoniyi from the Kabba area. That’s how far the northern elites have moved to ensure inclusion.
The propaganda could only do so little owing to the realities enumerated above. The chairman of the northern governors forum today is the governor of plateau state who belongs to the class of those that the southern coalition has been working tirelessly to co-opt. Another major identity of the entire coalition is their affiliation to the PDP and that also makes them appear as those people who were then helping Goodluck Jonathan to sway the votes of the northern minorities and it never worked and never will. You could consider them as the major mis-advisers of GEJ who led him to loose Favour with the northern Nigeria and ultimately to his loosing the election. One would even assume they have learnt from this but their recent activities till date proves they are still on same lost cause.
Politics is about numbers and such numbers are not forced or artificially built, there has to be careful bridge building through guarded utterances and sincere reach outs. There has to be deliberate efforts at upholding agreements and trusts coupled with mutual respect. The major attribute that has been affecting the south and its politics is sense of entitlements. There has always been this notion that the northerners are illiterates and can’t pull any stunts and the northerners have been hiding behind such and throwing political punches to the south and such will continue unless there’s a reversal on such notions and replacing them with sound political strategies full of engagements and respect.
The 2023 elections are coming which are perhaps supposed to be the turn of the south but the undoings of all or most of the potential candidates for the presidency from the region is taking a toll on them and their sell-ability to the extent that most feel they’ll still be a reemergence of another northerner for the presidency. Governor Dave Umahi has recently shifted grounds to the APC and the bashing he’s receiving is not small thing when In reality there is a thin line between the PDP and the APC. The criticisms could be seen to have some coloration of hate and such is very inimical to political progress. What Dave is doing is trying to build that bridge that is essential to succeed in Nigeria’s political space but whether his people will reason along that line and support him with the votes is story for the future to tell.
Nigeria’s political space is a very interesting one and only the smartest and the most inclusive benefit most of it.
May God bless Nigeria.
Dear fellow Nigerians, I write today to bring some insight into something that has become a sort of a phenomenon in our society which is financial corruption. I have over 12 years working experience today and it Inter-switched between the private and public sector and then there was the family, friends and acquaintances on another hand. The experience in its entirety afforded me an opportunity to study and understand the major reasons why people crave for extra incomes at all cost because everyday of my life is a research to me.
What my research showcased clearly is how the generality of the Nigerian people and their mindset is corruption focused and that’s why for example even those who voted for Buhari on the mantra of change and anticorruption still bug people working in the civil service or companies for financial assistance, the type that can only come through extra income and not statutory income. Such leaves one wondering if they ever understood what the anti corruption mantra meant or if the rent seeking attitude has simply become an attitude and way of life, whichever one leaves the situation every worrisome to say the least.
When you make visitations or you meet people and there is an introduction, the next question will most likely be where you work in order that you can be appropriately sized into what you can offer or should possess. This sort of inquisition and mind torture is more than enough to pressure someone into thinking of extra incomes at whatever cost. Such kinds of inquisitions have since even become the norm as far as courting a spouse is concerned. The parents require to know which of the government agencies or private companies you work for so they can appropriate their expectations.
To be fair to this topic, you would notice that such attitude or mindset concerns all the classes of the individuals in the society. Even those at the lowest end of the ladder exhibit such like in the case of a driver in the state house having more prestige than a driver of ministry of works even though their civil salary scale is the same. I met a woman who was apparently trying to let me know the suitor of her daughter does commercial motorcycling in Portharcourt and that in her mind means added financial capabilities. But I said in my mind that if the person could understand the viability of agriculture in his own region of the north, he would make much more than he’s getting from Portharcourt riding motorcycle but then the whole rent seeking attitude has become endemic to allow any room for critical thinking and long term planning.
The matter is daily becoming worse where young men who make legitimate earnings now find it hard to enjoy the proceeds simply because people around will perceive that there is so much wealth and demands that are over the incomes begin to pop in and refusal to grant them pitches you against them. You can understand how difficult it can be. You don’t have right to wear a nice shirt or shoes from your legitimate earning without it been related to having so much money that you must give out.
The elites also exhibit such kinds of mentality albeit in a different format. People who have held positions of influence and misused it now become aggrieved when someone else has assumed power and is doing more or less than them. If you check the true anger you’ll find it around loosing out from making proceeds and incomes. Aides, subordinates and political party members put so much pressure that is capable of forcing one into cutting corners to make money to satisfy such requests. Political party positions are sold to highest bidders, sometimes even political appointments. Why would any politician not seek for the maximum amassment they can get.
The average politician has pressures from the system, the public and family. This is what makes them seek for endless power because it’s the only way to sustainability. It is also the reason why they easily get bankrupt when not in power.
At the lower level, the reason I figured out for the exhibition of such rent seeking attitude is simply laziness. They don’t believe they can make it themselves through belief and hard work. This is what makes them feel looking good must mean so much money as against understanding it from the point of it being alright to enjoy the proceeds of hard work. People need to know for example that you need to work very hard in the farm before you could get good harvests and subsequently make money out of. People can’t continue to rely on sitting at home while someone who works hard provides. This is not underplaying the importance of philanthropy, however it should be given at will and to the most vulnerable whose situations are considerably demanding for help.
Furthermore, there was a need for everyone to appreciate the saying that ‘fingers are not equal’ and appreciate their level per time. We are good at making comparisons with developed lands and even in those places there are poor or less privileged people. It is not crime to own up to your level and fall in love with it. There has to be passion and love for what we do be it security man or cleaner, genuine diligence could attract progression.
As for the elites, it’s understandably a difficult one for them owing to these mentalities and pressures but they have to summon the courage to see how to formulate policies that could bridge the gap between rent seeking and pride in hard work and contentment. This looks more like a mental reorientation and we must take it very seriously.
All is well that ends well, they say.
God bless Nigeria.