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WAKE UP IGALA ELITES

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We all saw trending stories of a very hard-working teenager (Mary Daniel) on social media and immediate calls for fund raising to better her plights.

I don’t want to believe all our Igala elites were blindfolded from reading stories of her predicaments but as usual they all kept mute because for many of them it is not time to invest in hotel business.

From findings, Mary Daniel is from Egume, Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi state. It was my kinsman, Amor Chelsea who spotted the abilities in her disability and posted it on social media and it attracted sympathy from all angles but none of our celebrated Igala elites showed concern.

Generosity doesn’t speak any language and love is beyond ethnicity; the man pictured here is of Igbo descent and he didn’t hesitate to gift Mary a whopping sum of 1 million naira.

We have so many Mary Daniel roaming the streets in a state of helplessness but it is a big shame when supposed Igala elites shy aware from responsibilities but are quick to starch their agbada during campaigns with trailer load of fallacious manifestos.

Few Igala elites are always on standby to assist the needy. The bulk of our kinsmen are only interested in the welfare of their immediate families with zero sense of human capital investment or philanthropic flair.

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We are waiting for these class of shameless leaders and celebrated elites with zero level of futuristic impact to show their ugly head in the next gubernatorial election; it’s not going to be business as usual.

If you don’t have good antecedents, go and campaign in your family compound. Worst of it, some of these Abuja Hotel Investors cannot even win votes in their immediate family compound or polling units.

Congratulations Mary Daniel!

I admire your courage and diligence which pushed you to limelight…. this is just a stepping stone.

Credit to Ajogwu Jerry

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Opinion

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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Opinion

What Have We Done For the Next Generation?, by Hassan Gimba

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Our next-generation may not know what our generation knew, may not have what we had. We have failed to give them what the previous generation gave us.

The peace and tranquillity we knew, the comfort and ease we had, the security and brotherhood we enjoyed, the careful laying of the foundation for our future we witnessed – all these we have failed to transfer to the next generation because we have thrown away the baton.

The problems of Nigeria are such that you get lost when talking about them. Where do you start from? The betrayal of confidence by leadership that much hope was placed on? Or is it the systemic and systematic decay in its affairs? The “me first” attitude of its people that see the country as milking cow? Our lack of seriousness over what we should be serious about?

In Chinua Achebe’s book The Trouble With Nigeria, published in 1983, he professed that the only trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership.

He wrote that with outstanding leaders, Nigeria could resolve its inherent problems, such as tribalism, lack of patriotism, social injustice and the cult of mediocrity, indiscipline, and corruption.

However, Joseph F. Mali, in his A Quiet Revolution: Some Social and Religious Perspectives on the Nigerian Crisis, thinks differently. He thinks corruption and failed leadership are not at the heart of the Nigerian crisis. He opined that though corruption and misrule have done terrible harm to the country; they are by-products of something in the same way smoke is the by-product of fire.

The real trouble with Nigeria, says Mali, “is the lifestyle of profound selfishness the people and their leaders have in common”. And the nation still bleeds because of this evil, he said. Unless Nigerians cure this (disease), he maintains, no system of government is likely to succeed. “In vain do Nigerians seek political solutions as long as selfishness remains their credo!” Since Nigeria’s problem is moral, Mali insists, the remedy must also be ethical. He proposes A Quiet Revolution as a cure for Nigeria’s ailment. This revolution is not a silent coup to overthrow the Nigerian government. It is not a French-style rebellion with masses on the streets and peasants in the country put an end to centuries of absolute monarchy. Rather, the Quiet Revolution is an interior change, an individual transformation. As long as this change has not happened, Mali declares, it will be difficult to repair and restore Nigeria.

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This is quite in tandem with the Qur’anic verse that says Allah (SWT) changes not the condition of people until they change what is in their hearts. Here, the verse is widely quoted out of context by people wanting to give their idols in power excuses. People don’t just wake up and at same time say: “We must change.” He always gives them someone who sensitises and organises them by leading them as their guide. Such a person is the leader; even the greatest revolutions and mass uprisings in history have guides, so it still comes back to the question of leadership.

God sends prophets to lead people to cleanse their hearts and become new. One by one, people change internally and get transformed individually, as Mali said, and collectively a changed society is born. There is always one who is the society’s mirror..

In July last year, I wrote on this page “God raises the living out of the dead and brings forth light out of the dark, He raises from among a people their type who leads them from deprivation to well being. Out of the palace of the Pharaoh, He raised Moses (AS); out of the family and society of idolaters, He brought forth Abraham (AS), and out of the heathendom of Arabia He revealed Muhammad (SAW).

“Chaka the Zulu founded the Zulu Empire and led them for twelve years before he was assassinated on September 22, 1828, He moulded his people into a dominating fighting force never seen before in southern Africa. Mao Zedong, known as Chairman Mao, was the founding father of The People’s Republic of China and laid the foundation of what China now is. You can go on and count leaders who changed their people and their countries’ fortunes by leading by example. Cuba’s Fidel Castro was one; we also had Muammar Gaddafi from Libya, Dr Martin Luther King who raised the consciousness of Blacks, Dr Muhammad Mahathir of Malaysia and Mahatma Gandhi of India.

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“These leaders raised the consciousness level of the people and changed them to better human beings, by being what they wanted their people to be. They did not look their people in the face condescendingly and patronisingly, point a finger at them singing “change” while they indulged in the vices of yore. Mao viewed such leaders as “swollen in head, weak in legs, sharp in tongue but empty in belly.”

Perchance this is one reason in 1999, years after he published his work, and despite Mali’s treatise, Achebe still maintained that Nigeria’s problem is that of leadership. He had returned to the country after a decade overseas receiving treatment for a back injury sustained in an automobile accident. At his home in the South East, he met with Cunliffe-Jones to discuss the Nigerian crisis. Achebe’s view had not changed at all. He reiterated his old message: “If poor leadership caused the problem then, it is still the case today.”

Someone once explained our social and political reality: “those in power enjoyed the oil money while most other Nigerians languished in poverty. The masses, he said, could be described as innocent sufferers, like the biblical Job, or the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. (Nigerian masses) watch their leaders ruin the nation but could do nothing to stop them”, he concluded.

Unfortunately, the quality of leadership seems to dwindle, deteriorating by the day despite Nigeria being more populated than forty years ago when Achebe wrote his political polemic. We have more professors, more PhDs, more professionals, more intellectuals, more exposure, more enlightenment – more everything. Yet we have regressed so much concerning providing quality leaders and leadership in the country.

Because of this dysfunction in providing formal leadership responsive to yearnings of people, tribal quasi-irredentists and jingoists have appeared on the landscape, setting the agenda.

The South-East produced Zik of Africa, Eton College-trained Ojukwu, Kingsley Mbadiwe of the Timber and Calibre rhetoric and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary fame. It also produced Alex Ekwueme, intellectual giants like Chuba Okadigbo, etc. Now it has a Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The South West sired Obafemi Awolowo, Adelabu Adegoke, Lamidi Adedibu, MKO Abiola, Lateef Jakande, Adeniran Ogunsanya, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, etc. But now it is Sunday Igboho after Ganiyu Adams.

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The North? The North that produced Aminu Kano, Hassan Usman Katsina, Shehu Shagari, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Waziri Ibrahim has no one now, sadly. It has been searching since the demise of the Sardauna of Sokoto 56 years ago.

The lack of leaders who love this country has been our problem. While current crop of leaders had the best of everything, they have not improved on what they got for those coming after them. The great public school system that groomed them is no more. They prefer to send their children abroad for tertiary education and private schools for their primary and secondary education. The American government recently said about 14,000 Nigerians pursuing graduate and undergraduate degrees across communities in their country spent $501 million (about N190 billion) last year. And this is just America!

The public health system that took care of them while growing up is a shadow of itself as private hospitals and clinics have taken over. The leaders now indulge in medical tourism, spending billions of naira in hospitals abroad. In 2016, Price Waterhouse Coopers in its report stated that Nigerians spend $1 billion annually on medical tourism. It also said that 60 per cent of it is from oncology, orthopaedic, nephrology and cardiology patients.

When the world was virtually locked down this time last year because of Covid-19, the average Nigerian patiently waited for conditions to ease. He believed that having realised our incapacity, Nigeria will witness massive developments in its health and education sector and an aggressive drive on food production. Good leaders would also think that way.

It is unfortunate our generation has not replicated for the next generation what last generation did for us. Instead of even giving them peace to do for themselves what we failed to do for them, we are bristling and threatening to push them into turmoil. Turmoil and uncertainty. We better retreat because the path we are treading will not stand us well in the books of posterity.

If we have failed in taking care of their welfare, we should not fail in securing their lives in a united Nigeria and giving them peace to thrive.

Hassan Gimba
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Nigeria’s perennial recession; a result of policy somersault.

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Nigeria will predictably be in recession for a long time. When you keep doing the same thing and expect different results, you will need to check yourself.

It appears we are not in a hurry to live in the reality of the 21st century with others.

I sometimes wonder why we like to put the cart before the horse as a country. There has never been a time when we did anything that was not opposite of what everyone else was doing. Fundamental economics teaches that before you stop importation, you need to have put in place import substitution strategy, and get them working properly before attempting any grandstanding.

Then again, timing is very important in making policy decisions. You cannot wake up from the wrong side of the bed and declare things banned.

It is as insensitive as it is unconstructive.  People have often questioned the reasons for some government policies in Nigeria.

What is more heart breaking is where some ‘supporters’ get the kind of shameless illiteracy with which they defend retrogressive policies. Let us start with the Covid-19 decisions of the government.  As the pandemic was biting hard, incomes were shrinking. That was when we suddenly woke up to ban in a commando style,  a whopping 41 imported items, among which were foodstuff and other consumer goods critical to every day survival.

That is not all o. The people were losing jobs in droves. That means that purchasing power was falling rapidly and the country trapped itself in stagflation. Prices were skyrocketing and there was no purchasing power in the hands of the people. To my surprise, some people who I thought ‘know book’ were  just falling my hands in the halleluya praise singing in honour of the courage with which the government was ‘tackling’ the economy. We would argue it until I had a headache. At some point I couldn’t tell if it was the argument that caused the headaches or the useless virus that trapped all of us in our homes.

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Puerile arguments were advanced in support of the government. I took a look at my then none months old baby and asked her if at that age she could disgrace her father by saying such a meaningless thing. One of the headless statements was that China closed their borders and started agriculture. And boom! They became greater, the China you know today. I was torn between laughter and sorrow.

The story that they did not verify is that China’s maximum ruler, chairman Mao Zedong, threaded the communist path. He closed the boarders and decided on a pilot execution of certain apocryphal economic policies. He closed the Chinese borders to neighbouring countries. And then starvation set in.

Chairman Mao’s decision led to one of the most catastrophic man made starvation in human history which left between 15 to 55 million people dead, and hundreds of people malnourished. That happened between 1959 and 1961. Zedong had no choice but to immediately take steps to reverse the policy.

But ridiculously, that policy was what Zedong called the Great Leap. By 1962, China having seen nwe, reversed themselves and opened their borders. They started an industrialization policy that embraced the domestication of technology. They started to produce for export.

It is the same as Nigeria’s great leap that happened in the midst of a world wide devastation. But wait, who exactly did Nigerians offend that is so unforgiving? Nigeria wanted to leap. Two things happened. She leaped in the darkness of a pandemic with its eyes wide shut! Where did we land? In a circle of inflationary pressures.

First, we ought to have had a solid import substitution plan before talking of shutting down importation. We do not have mechanised agriculture. We want to produce rice for a population of 200 million people with hoes and cutlasses on an unyielding soil. We have no reservoirs where we store excess grains for time of scarcity. What am I even saying, we do not even have enough. Where are we getting the excess from? We might as well be wasting money building silos.

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Even the ones planted are being eaten by the holy cows. Private investors in agriculture have had their farms vandalised by cattle which roam across the country. The famine loving government has encouraged the increased devastation of the farms by failing to call the vandals and bandits to order.

People have abandoned the farms and run away to join the army of the hungry parading the streets in the cities to hustle for the little that’s available. That’s a double whammy. No money and the prices of food are high.

The north east and north west of Nigeria used to be the producer of grains and spices. But not anymore. Boko Haram has killed and maim many a farmer, destroyed promising Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses like sales of rice, onions, fish etc that accompany farming. They have turned large swaths of thriving villages and towns into desolate, uninhabited lands. The best you get in such places in Borno, Yobe and environs are Internally Displaced People’s camps. Even when those at the camps Internally Displaced People’s camps. Even when those at the camps attempt to do little fishing here and farming there, they are traced to the camps and killed. The survivors have become dependent on the lean resources instead of the contributors that they used to be.

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On all fronts, Nigeria is scoring abysmally low. In the midst of the confusion called policy, the youths decided to make themselves happy by trading in cryptocurrencies.  The government, like the proverbial village people, followed them there and blocked the channel.

Foreign exchange from that sector has been blocked. This is while the entire world is running towards digital currencies o. Big companies have started accepting Bitcoin as payment for their products, the risks not withstanding. Tesla is a major example. Nigeria nko? They banned it. This is digital currency. Then we have a Digital Economy ministry which knows next to nothing about how to rein in the volatility of digital currency. And some bishops, youths etc had the effrontery to carry placards under the hot Abuja sun to assault our collective intelligence that Pantami is doing well as the head of that ministry.

Nigeria will continue in this damnable trajectory unless things change from the anachronism it has adopted as a state policy to what the world has embraced. The worldview of the government is annoyingly too narrow.

May  Nigeria quickly realise that like the ostrich, it is burying its head in the sand while the entire body is outside. Very soon we will be forced to look inwards. The increase in prices are eroding profits and people are getting thrown out of jobs. The current unemployment rate in Nigeria is 33%. Nigeria is among the first three most terrorised country in the world. Nigeria took over from India as the poverty capital of the world in 2019, according to the Austria based World Poverty Clock and The World Bank in separate reports, with 1 person sliding into abject poverty every six minutes.

To be continued.

Alex Agbo is a writer and an economic researcher based in Lagos.

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