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From Kankara to Kagara; hypocrisy defines government

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ANYONE who watches the trending video of heavily armed bandits taunting Nigeria and its doddering leadership and emotionally assaulting passengers of the Niger State Transport Authority, NSTA, bus without feeling sorry for the country must be subhuman.

The victims were abducted in the Yakila district of the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State on February 15. I had goosebumps watching babies crying, women frantically pleading, men humiliated and resigned to fate, and of course, their tormentors, having the fun of their lives, celebrating their successful haul of human cargo that will soon translate into millions of naira.

The Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has confirmed the video and the N500 million ransom already demanded by the bandits.

The video graphically illustrates how low the country has sunk under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch. It depicts the helplessness of Nigerians in the face of the existential threat they collectively face. Under Buhari’s watch, it is sorrow, tears and blood, as the Afrobeat legend, Fela, would say. But the consolation is that Nigerians, South of the Niger, have also resolved never to roll over for the hoodlums from the North ever again.

I had resolved last week to stay off the tomfoolery of the Nigerian elite, having come to the inevitable conclusion that they are dyed-in-the-wool hypocrites, set in their adulterous ways. They have no fidelity to the common good. But it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to stay aloof when an issue is existential threat – Nigerians are at that dreadful moment when many are increasingly questioning whether their lives have meaning, purpose, or value in their own country.

We are at that scary juncture where though bandits have become existential threat, yet the Northern elite, like the ostrich, are burying their heads in the sand, pretending that by so doing the country’s woes will be wished away. On Tuesday, Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, the chief ideologue of the Fulani supremacist agenda, was on the Africa Independent Television, AIT, where he made the bold-faced claim that bandits learnt kidnapping from Niger Delta militants. That is a lie.

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To dissuade terrorists from maiming and killing fellow citizens, he doubled down on his vexatious demand that they be granted amnesty and handsomely compensated if they magnanimously agree to be persuaded to lay down their arms. To them, we, the lesser mortals, don’t have the right to live peacefully or otherwise. It is a privilege at their whims and caprices.

The hubris is suffocating. Rather than address the issue of insecurity, what you hear from the Northern elite is this condescending admonition to the rest of the country not to provoke their wrath. Rather than telling their brothers to stop the kidnappings and senseless bloodletting, they are angry that Nigerians have the audacity to call them out. They are enraged that other Nigerians have the guts to push back on their brazen expansionist agenda.

Why would a governor from the South demand that Fulani herdsmen be flushed out of the forests in his state? They are enraged that non-state actors like Sunday Igboho would dare challenge the suzerainty of the Fulani and defend their people in the face of government’s shameful abdication of its primary responsibility which is the protection of lives and property of the citizens.

They are deploying every trick in the book to deflect the blame from themselves. In all their posturing, they do everything to shield President Buhari, the man on whose watch the country is going to the dogs, from any blame. Curiously, a people that long ago elevated to an art the tendency of blaming the group for the sins of a few are today crying foul that Nigerians are blaming herdsmen for the mayhem across the country. They are now saying that crime has no ethnicity, which is true. But remember the egregious lie of branding the January 15, 1966 coup an Igbo coup?

Yes, that is the hypocrisy that rules the land. They pretend not to know what happened on that fateful day – a group of army officers, the majority of who were Igbo, on their own planned a coup without consulting ordinary Igbo people in the street. Yet, they conveniently branded it for the singular purpose of exacting maximum revenge on the Igbo. Over 55 years after, that lie has persisted and it is at the root of all the injustices meted out to the Igbo in Nigeria. Yet, these same people are protesting loudly that Nigerians are calling out those who have turned Nigeria into a huge killing field.

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Why shouldn’t those terrorising Nigerians be identified ethnically? If they are Igbo, will the Sheikh Gumis of this country do otherwise? Now that it has been established beyond doubt that Fulani bandits are behind the mayhem, why should we shy away from saying so? Gumi acknowledges that those he met with in the Zamfara forests are Fulani and those who Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State went to West African countries to pay ransom after they killed his people in Kaduna were Fulani.

Any country that chooses to pamper bandits and reward, rather than punish criminality, pays a very stiff price. Criminals are emboldened when they are treated with kid gloves. So, while Sheikh Gumi is busy demanding amnesty for people, most of them non-citizens, who have made Nigeria a hell for citizens, the bandits struck again on Wednesday. This time, it was at the Government Science College, Kagara in Rafi local government of Niger State. The bandits who struck at about 2.00 a.m., killing one student, Benjamin Doma, whisked away 27 others, three teachers and 12 family members.

The Kagara abduction is coming less than three months after gunmen abducted hundreds of students of Government Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State. Though the number of abductees as confirmed by Governor Bello are fewer, this is the first time that a student will be killed at the crime scene and teachers taken hostage. Of course, the governor has not only shut down the school with about 650 students, he has also ordered that all boarding schools in Rafi, Mariga, Munya and Shiroro local government areas of the state be shut until further notice.

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With this incessant pillaging of schools, how can parents yield to persuasion to enroll their wards? Yet, this is a region that has the highest number of out-of-school children globally and the few that agreed to go to school are being kidnapped, killed and dehumanised by bandits. What a tragedy! The reactions are the same. It is all déjàvu. Governor Bello, pretending to be the tough cookie that he is obviously not, told journalists on Wednesday his government will not pay ransom to the bandits. But he is prepared to support and assist repentant bandits. Who is fooling who?

Senators making their usual noise, called on Buhari to declare a state of emergency and implement their various recommendations on how to tackle the escalating insecurity across the nation. Buhari described the kidnapping as brazen and cowardly even as he dispatched a team of security chiefs to Minna, the Niger State capital, to coordinate the “rescue” operation.
Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the president assured the security chieftains of the support of his administration and urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to the saga and “avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future”. Wasn’t that exactly what he said after the Kankara kidnap saga?

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, assured that the Kagara abductees will be rescued with the same strategy used in Kankara. Put simply, they will negotiate with the bandits, pay hefty ransom to secure the release of the victims. That was the Kankara strategy. Magashi said Nigerians have a responsibility to ensure adequate security, insisting it is not the responsibility of the military alone.

“We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes the bandits come with about three rounds of ammunition and when they fire shots everybody will run. In our younger days, we stood to fight any form of aggression,” he said. Isn’t that interesting coming from the same government that will shoot down anyone who tries to stand up to the impunity of bandits? Hypocrisy truly defines this government.

@iamcamposblues

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Religion Must Not Divide Nigeria Under Our Watch By Ajogwu Jerry Ochada

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African Continent is the center of modern civilization (Egypt) yet many Africans often mistake westernization as civilization meanwhile, they are never in tandem.

Many eurocentric researchers are living in solitary immersion of subjective thoughts because they prefer reading stories of Africa authored and doctored by White imperialist without any sense of remorse while trashing the rich cultural ethics of oral tradition and various traditions of origin.

To buttress the least, Africans are not slaves, Africans are not weak, Africans are not wicked. Our ancestors had a well evolved culture and religion now tagged African Traditional Religion (ATR) before the incursion of the colonialists who veiled their intentions using religion as bait of conquest.

It should also be recalled that in areas where annexation by the Whites was rejected, so many rebellion and war of conquests was fought.

In other words, religion was forcefully imposed on many communities and nations in Africa. Take for instance, the Sokoto Jihad (1804 – 1810) which was ably inspired by Usman Dan Fodio of everlasting memories. Christianity on the other hand snookered into the shores of Nigeria by early merchants disguised as missionaries. These religion imposed by early traders, tourists, travellers and later slave merchants are not indigenous to Africa and it is pathetic to note that the Siamese religion is fast dividing the United Peoples of African descent in the 21st century.

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Why do we allow a borrowed religion to influence divisive tendencies?
Did ATR ever instigated brethren against each other?
What do we stand to gain when Nigeria is crushed under our watch?
Is this the Nigeria of our dreams?
Who are the terrorists and who are their sponsors?
What is causing the growing spate of kidnapping, banditry, insurgency and numerous calls for secession?

It is pathetic that as citizens, we are buried in the shallow graveyards of religious sentiments (directly or indirectly) and the overwhelming impact of modern day preachings circumvented via religious centers is affecting the sensibilities of worshippers thereby hunting sincere inclinations of peaceful coexistence amongst brothers from different mothers. Therefore, until the day Emeka stop evaluating Lawal and Adebayo under myopic lens summarized as a different citizen of Nigeria as a result of religious difference and indifference, the country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. This is not a baseless assumption because current trends in the country is painting a bigger picture we are all striving to understand.

At the moment, we have few citizens of goodwill who are always on standby to make NIGERIA a better place by showcasing the real ideals of philanthropy without sentimental attachments to religion, ethnicity or class. Sadly, these class of detribalized Nigerians are haunted in broad daylights by evil gamblers of greed suffocating good intentions of the former. It is imperative that these men of goodwill should not be allowed to be beaten by the bug of sentimental approach which is detrimental and a clog in the wheels of development, peace and progress.

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It is time to change the narratives by inculcating passionate tenets and mannerisms especially in the mindset of the newer generations whose reasoning style and state of mind can still be rated as tabular rasa. Pupils should be thought from kindergarten classes that all Nigerians are one united people irrespective of religion, culture and geographical placements. This is also a wake-up call to the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other sister organizations.

Conclusively, present day political culture in Nigeria should be trashed as a matter of urgency. Leaders should not be elected and recycled in Nigeria based on religious affiliations or regional consideration. The format should not align on the basis of a Muslim should rule after the tenure of a Christian or viceversa. If truly we are sincere and humane and ready to practice honest politics of political power rotation, then subscribers of African Traditional Religion should also feature in the rotational process.

I attended a Unity School where everyone is equal before God and man. All thanks to General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) who envisioned the glorious need for all Nigerians to come together despite passing through the corridors of a Civil War (1967–70) that could not break the country however, shadows of Biafran insurrection is still in vogue and it takes the refined idiosyncracy of a tough leader to crush varying agitations lingering in the country. To curb these menace, no sacred cow should be permitted to roam around romancing with terrorists, spew all sorts of hate speech yet he or she is free as a bird perhaps pardoned by religious supremacy / mutual understanding.

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Furthermore, allocating school admissions and employment slots on the margins of religion should be scrapped. This should be based on merits not religious calculations captioned as connection, grace or miracle. So many intelligent citizens are roaming the streets depressed because of systematic defects of illicit practices which is not even constitutional yet inherently operational in Nigeria against all odds. If ATR which is indigenous to Nigeria and Africa cannot divide us, we should not allowed any borrowed religion that filtered in from another Continent to cause us more harm than good.

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Contractor’ Mbaka Should Reap Where He Sowed

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“Man has an incurable habit of not fulfilling the prophecies of his fellow men.”-Alistair Cooke

 

Had he read this quote from Alistair Cooke, a British American journalist, Rev.

Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka would have been circumspect about his “I saw it coming” winning predictions for Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and Hope Uzodinma in 2020. Circumspection would have saved the popular priest the national embarrassment he is facing over his right to comment on the President’s poor performance in office.

If you are a current affairs commenter and something concerning your faith crops up and is trending, you need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to attend to it judiciously to avoid bias or poor judgment. Politicians may not care about taking unpopular positions on issues so long as their political interests are served.

Not so for the writer who is conscious of the demands of public interest and his duty to speak truth to power in the public space.

In various ways, Father Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), has taken the Catholic Church to its high and low points. Easily, his ministry is the most popular. He has also dragged the church into needless political controversies. If you are expecting me to tongue-lash Father Mbaka for allegedly soliciting contracts from the government he had helped to install, so to say, you will be sorely disappointed. As a Nigerian, Fr. Mbaka has not done anything unexpected or unusual trying to reap where he sowed.

No crime committed even before God who, so the Bible says, has ordained seed sowing and harvest time for as long the earth remains. Even the Canon law is not against that. The people who denied him compensation for his support of Buhari should have issues with their conscience. Much of the restiveness across the country today is traceable to the useand- dump practice in our polity which Buhari took to the next level.

If with all his encumbrances, Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami, who contributed little compared to Mbaka in making Buhari President in 2015, is a full cabinet minister, what is wrong with Father Mbaka getting a contract? If Mbaka had come from the North or been connected to the Caliphs and took such a high risk to support a President his followers didn’t want, he would have been asked to nominate ministers and others for appointments. The Presidency even had to plead for the forgiveness of Pantami ignoring the advisory that is suited for his likes from Syed Ata Husain, an Indian General, that “forgiving a terrorist is left to God, but fixing the appointment with God is the soldier’s responsibility.”

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Buhari and his henchmen knew of the massive collateral loss suffered by Mbaka for the President’s sake. Besides threatening his priesthood, Mbaka’s open declaration for Buhari in an enclave that denied him 97 percent vote cost the cleric a flourishing business.

Soon after declaring his Buhari support, Aqua Rapha that was the prime table water in the market in the South East and beyond suffered unprecedented rejection from consumers. It’s people like Mbaka who deserve to be given FG contracts. He would have delivered contract jobs and gone further to use the proceeds to feed the thousands of poor people on his payroll, as a scholarship and other acts of charity.

He is one of the biggest single employers of labour in Enugu State, the base of AMENl. He just conand secrated a church he single handedly built in his village. Mbaka and his Adoration Ministry can afford more than one private jet but he is not even eyeing one because he is on the side of the poor. He is easily the most hard-working Catholic priest in the South-East if not Nigeria.

It is worthy of note that Fr Mbaka does not deserve any accolade for going the wrong way outside his very successful mission in the priesthood. One had expected him to openly apologize to his followers for supporting Buhari and for dragging the name of the Holy Spirit around as his guide.

He should just have withdrawn his support for Buhari, going further to ask him to resign or be impeached was politicking which was bound to attract reprisals from the President’s attack dogs. He should have seen it coming. A Wada Nas of Abacha era would have done worse than Garba Shehu. Why the Catholic Church advises priests to refrain from partisan politics is because of the impracticability of serving God and mammon at the same time without getting bruised. When a child is restive and attracted to fire and breaks its mother’s restraint, it may be necessary to allow the child to have a brief feel of burning fire. If seeing is not believing, feeling is it.

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Mbaka knows better today. In 1992, the Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu of the blessed memory emerged as a gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and even won the election as governor in Benue State against the advisory of the Catholic Church. Like Fr. Mbaka, Adasu got the feel of dining with the devil and realized that even a long spoon was not enough safeguard.

People who are furious about Fr. Mbaka’s botched political outing with Buhari have even suggested his defrocking from the priesthood. But such people do not understand the Catholic Church. Nobody, not even the Church’s alter-ego, the Pope, can by his attitude affect the Catholic Church fundamentally to warrant a rash action to satisfy the often sentimental public.

When Jesus tells Peter, “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it,” the Catholic Church symbolizes it with Pope Francis as the 266th in the papal seat of St Peter. Also, when Gamaliel told Jewish leaders trying to halt the initial Apostles to leave them alone that if what they do is not of God it will crumble like the others in history they heeded his advisory and it worked.

When Fr Mbaka’s controversial prophecy on Buhari and Hope Uzodinma was generating heat, Nigerians wanted the Church to act on him but it would not, believing that if it’s not of God, the truth will come out. Where are we today? The same Mbaka, a Buhari and Uzodinma protagonist yesterday, is today among the growing club of their antagonists the extent that his behind-the-scenes deal with the ‘devil’ is being exposed!

What makes the Catholic Church tick is the priesthood, when you are trained and found worthy of priesthood in the line of Melchizedek, you must have been set aside. And that is what Fr. Mbaka is in a very special way and may remain so until the end of his time. During his political battle with once dreaded Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, Mbaka said the bible in his car wedged the bullet aimed at him by the reigning dragons of the time and nobody doubted him. Even his traducers are still in shock. Though a Catholic, I am not a fan of Fr. Mbaka, but I cannot allow him to pass by me without blessing me because I know who is an anointed man of God.

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A number of my relatives are his buffs. They call themselves ‘umu ikuku’, Igbo for ‘children of the wind who cannot be caught by an evil spirit’. You cannot enter into an argument with Fr. Mbaka Adoration member (umu ikuku) concerning their idol and win.

He is their special Daddy on earth. Imagine the commotion in Enugu yesterday when they could not find their Daddy at the Adoration ground, the Bishop was forced to release him from the so called ‘protective custody’ On a very solemn note, my senior sister Caroline Abonyi passed on in an accident in 2013 while rushing to travel to Enugu from the village for Fr. Mbaka’s adoration. Those who came to console the family when she died said to us that her spirit must have gone to that adoration ground from where it was lifted to heaven and now resting with the angels.

Who am I to doubt as a Catholic and believer in the resurrection, especially knowing the kind of selfless life she lived while on earth. The fundamental thing in all the Fr. Mbaka brouhaha is the evidently poor performance of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially as it relates to insecurity in the nation.

If Buhari was doing well in the delivery of democracy dividends which securing life and property are key as enshrined in Section 14, subsection 2b, of the constitution, “the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government”, Fr. Mbaka may not have made his U-turn. Nobody wants to be inside a sinking ship if he can jump out and that was what the fiery priest did. The issue of a contract is intended as a distraction. Fr. Mbaka’s goodwill may have been diminished for being where he shouldn’t be but the image of the church is intact. Huge lesson for all not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

God, help us.
Credit: Newstelegraph

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HOUSE OF REPS:Ankpa, Olamaboro, Omala Who is next? (Olamaboro)

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In an ideal democracy, the rotational formula is very sacrosanct in other to protect the involvement of the minority in a country, State, Senatorial district, and federal constituency respectively.


Ankpa federal constituency in kogi state has been maintaining this rotational formula since the country returned to a Democratic system of government.
In 1999, honorable Abimaje Muazu from Ankpa local government was elected and happened to be the first rep member after the country returned to democracy.
In 2003, senator Attai Ali Aidoko from Olamaboro local government was elected and was still reelected in 2007 consecutively, after the completion of his second term in 2011, Hon Idris Muhammad Ibro from Omala local government was voted massively based on the principle of rotational method which the good and loving people of Ankpa federal constituency has been maintaining.

In 2015 Hon. Hassan Omale from Ankpa local government was elected, during this period, all the major political parties zoned their party tickets to Ankpa local government to enable them to produce the next house of rep member, it was then that distinguished Hon Hassan Omale of all progressive Congress (APC) emerged victoriously in the general election.
Hon Hassan Omale lost reelection but despite that APC, PDP and other major political parties still zone their party tickets to Ankpa to enable them to complete their second card, it was in that contest that honorable Halims won on the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) who is currently the member representing Ankpa, Olamaboro and Omala federal constituency at the green Chamber. based on the historical background given thus far, Ankpa local government has ruled for 12 years leading above olamaboro and omala local government respectively since the returned to democracy.
Standing on the history given below it is now unmistakable that it is the turn of olamaboro local government to produce the next House of Representatives member in 2023 because olamaboro local government has never against the zoning formula and this has created love, conformity, and purposeful leadership among the three local governments that made up the federal constituency.
As the 2023 election draws nearer,we appeal to all the major parties in Ankpa federal constituency to zone their party tickets to Olamaboro local government to enable them to produce the House of Representative member to continue with the zoning strategy that has been in places to keep going if this zoning method is maintained there will be compassionate and again there won’t be any means of politics of one-sided or dominance but uniformity
Let us all termed with this reality for the refinement of our federal constituency.

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God bless Ankpa federal constituency.

God bless Kogi State.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Abutu Silas Ojochenemi

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