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Sunday, February 17, 2013


Welcoming the APC - By Sonala Olumhense - February 17, 2013

I warmly welcome Nigeria’s newest political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As constituted on February 6, 2013, the APC comprises the former All Progressive Grand Alliance, the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, and the Congress for Progressive Change.

As I understand it, the merger is to advance the best interests of Nigeria through correcting the lapses in our polity identified since 1999.

It is widely-known that those lapses are symbolized by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has wielded power at the centre since that time.

Now, the sins of the PDP are many. So are its sinners.

But Nigeria’s sinners are not only in the PDP. The PDP has become the symbol of Nigeria’s decay only because of its carnage in the center, but none of the parties that have held power in the States in the past 14 years are innocent.

In other words, the real issue is not the PDP; it is the Nigerian politician. The question is whether the Nigerian politician of the APC is different, or will be.

It is known that the immediate objective of the APC is to unseat the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

Mr. Jonathan has not confirmed he will run. If he does, that would indicate an unrepentant PDP.

It will also be good news for the APC because Jonathan ought to be pretty easy to defeat. In my view, Jonathan’s biggest opponent in 2015 will be Jonathan, not a party or a presidential candidate.

In 2011, he never debated anyone but himself; in 2015, he will. Since 2011, he has put in the most atrocious shift a Nigerian ruler ever has, and failed to honour his promises and pledges. In Jonathan’s care, Nigeria is worse than an open sewage.

Jonathan is Jonathan’s biggest weakness because his presidency has been but a broadcast of his limitations. The Jonathan that has emerged since 2010 is, even by PDP standards, not a marketable one. Unless Nigerians are such fools that that they will again mistake “clueless” for “shoeless,” it is unlikely he will make it past his own party’s primaries.

In other words, in the 2015 elections, the APC will have more than a fair chance to wipe the slate clean.

But the task is not just removing the PDP; it is putting in, and putting first, Nigeria. To do that, the APC must demonstrate the capacity, not just the rhetoric, for democracy. It is an age-old challenge: many proclaim it, but few are strong enough to understand its implications.

The question is whether, in practice, the replacement party is cut from the same cloth as the PDP. Since you cannot get yam from cocoyam, will the men and women offered by the APC be achiever and people of character?

The new party has outlined its priorities to include agricultural development, jobs, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural­ development, adequate power supply, eradication of poverty and corruption, and rapid technological advancement and industrialisati­on.

That is all very good, but it is also just an overloaded shopping basket. Any political party, especially a new one, can tender such a shopping cart at the checkout counter. Does the APC have the political and patriotic capital to pay for it?

I certainly hope so, but the new party may be looking at the microscope from the wrong end. Regrettably, that is the same exhaust pipe from which the PDP has always looked at the country, and it is the end from which Nigeria has been sold the most rotten goods.
The correct and sensible place to start is for the ACP to assume the character of a party that seeks power not for the sake of power, but for service.

How is the APC to be seen to be programmed to serve, and not simply to serve its members?

My answer is that the new party must set clear standards, and demonstrate that those standards are higher than partisan politics and the APC itself. Before contesting for power, it should show that it is serious about things being done, and done right.

In this regard, I challenge the APC to set such standards into a code of conduct and of obligations, and publish it. This will demonstrate that the party understands the quality of the challenge that is before our nation, and that it intends to subordinate itself to it.

The APC must understand that it will be held to a higher standard than the PDP because, by its nature, it has proclaimed itself to be the superior of the two.

Is it?

Beyond any doubt, Nigeria’s failures stem from a dearth of men and of institutions, and it will require the most courageous and patriotic of Nigerians to commence the rectification of this problem.

Is the APC the right batch of men, or are they simply taking advantage of the moment? Let the new party to define its character by publicly setting the lowest limits of its aspirations at the level of the most essential reforms that Nigeria needs.

In this respect, the first, most desirable, and lowest-hanging fruit is our electoral system. A system where the party in power, through the president, defines elections through the pivotal ability to appoint the electoral boss is a joke and cannot guarantee decent elections or attract decent candidates. The ACP should therefore pick the Uwais Report, which contains all the answers, off the floor, and labour to make it the basis of true electoral reform. There is no reason to start over.

Think about it: so we have an “Independent” National Electoral Commission (INEC)? If so, exactly what is INEC independent of? It is certainly not independent of the ruling party or the president.

Here is proof: In 2010, Attahiru Jega, the current INEC chairman, loudly announced that the new electoral register had captured many well-known multiple-regist­ering politicians. Jega was effusive that he would make an example of the offenders by prosecuting them. Two and a half years later, he has done no such thing. The reason is simple: most of them belong to his employers: the PDP. If we implement the recommendations­ of the Justice Uwais panel, we will be spare these hypocrisies.

Second, the APC should put into play, without delay, a nationwide voter-education­ plan that will not only consolidate it as a political party, but will demonstrate a grassroots machinery of education and voter-registrat­ion. That is how you broaden party membership and develop national presence.

Three: a true anti-corruption­ response. If the APC considers itself to be ready for prime-time, it must tell Nigerians how it intends to combat corruption. Without a dogged and determined anti-corruption­ plan, the APC will simply become the PDP in another name.

Nigerians know that the current “anti-corruptio­n” scheme is a ruse. A true war will have many of the current anti-corruption­ leaders in jail within one month, and stripped of their loot.

The same regime will also put proponents of the ACP on trial and separate them from both their loot and their hypocrisies. The APC must demonstrate that it is willing, ready and capable of assuming this challenge. Nigeria does not lack resources for development; what we lack are men who will retrieve the resources from our many thieves and plough them into development.

The PDP must go. But the APC must prove that it is the answer.

• sonala.olumhens­e@gmail.com

Friday, January 25, 2013


Lukman Badmus Badamasi wrote:

Religion is a corporation and you're the one feeding it your spiritual capital.

Religion inspires you to hate other human beings with a fake god different than your fake god.

Religion is designed to create an atmosphere where citizens are screaming the mindless slogans of 'my god is better than your god.

Your faith in an imaginary God(s) keeps you afraid to live lest some imaginary creature keep tabs on you.

Religious texts are nothing but rule books written by the powerful to oppress the weak.

God is like a boogeyman, it's used to control the behavior of children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens etc etc.

Religion is a myth, the characters are made up, the stories are imagined, the ideas are designed to neutralize political instincts.

While your religious leaders are living like the capitalists off your labor (donations), you're still leading a life of economical slavery.

Religious worship stunts your desire to explore and understand your society.

Religion inspires you to hate other human beings with a fake god different than your fake god.

Don't be so impressionable,  religion is nothing butan instrument of mass social control.

Religion is anti-revolution  ary, it numbs people down from their immediate political reality.

Hymns are used to give you a sense of belonging to a large group of human beings, but you're singing the songs of your oppressors.

There's no heaven, it's nothing but a thoroughly constructed mental space designed to control your actions.

Sectarianism is used to create absurd religious debates, when the people should be in the streets revolting.

Fight for humanity, instead of wasting your life in prayer rooms waiting for magical things to appear.

Your religious leaders are charlatans who want tocontrol your life by controlling all the rules.

Sectarianism is used by the rulers of society to turn billions into religious bigots.

Hymns are used to create an environment conducive to mass expropriation of labor (donations).

Religion is a corporation and you're the consumer of its lies and deceit.

Religious buildings are designed to make you feelsmall and weak, so that they may pounce upon your spirit.

Instead of worshipping dead saints, organize your community to take political action to protect itself.

Monday, January 21, 2013


The frontline gets wider - by: Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed

“The man who burns down his grains store must know where ash is expensive” Hausa Proverb

On the day the Senate gave approval for Nigerian soldiers and airmen to join others from France, a few West African countries and Malian troops to fight a rebellion in Mali, the crisis in that country escalated. French planes strafed rebel positions. Europeans kidnapped by allies of the Malian rebels were killed along with their kidnappers in an attack by Algerian troops. President Jonathan flew out to attend a Summit on the crisis, and the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika revealed that some of the insurgents in Nigeria under the generic cover of the Jamaatu Ahlil Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad (a.k.a. Boko Haram) have received training in Mali. The death of European civilian hostages in the process of being rescued by Algerian troops will raise public awareness in Europe over a new frontline which is likely to suck in not just France, but Europe in possibly a long-drawn conflict with massive potentials for collateral damage.

Mali will be an active theater of war in the next few weeks, months, or years. The rebels may be routed by the superior weaponry and intelligence of the African International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) in a matter of weeks, or the forces of Africa and Europe could be tied down in a prolonged conflict with an enemy that has roots and support in many neighbouring countries. If the intelligence suggests that the military defeat of a group of two to three thousand men under arms will be the end of this problem, it had better be very good intelligence indeed. If it suggests the possibility of the defeat and dispersal of an armed group, a radical improvement in the capacity of the Malian army in the north, a sustained and ultimately successful campaign of AL-Qaida in the Maghreb (AQIM), and a marked improvement in the capacities of the basic institutions of the Malian state to prevent collapse, it should also foresee a prolonged engagement by all the parties currently in Mali.

It is important that this strategic intervention is informed by quality intelligence and strong strong political will to succeed, for a number of reasons. First, Mali represents the visible evidence of a problem which had built up over the last few years, feeding partly on local and age-long grievances, and partly on the massive restiveness among the Muslim population in Asia Middle East and Africa that had much to do with the US, NATO countries and Israel. It is vital that the linkages between pockets of activities in muslim activities are understood, because they represent a challenge to any strategy which seeks piecemeal solutions. Second, the terrain and the context of this engagement will be decisive in the manner it plays out. France may believe that it has mastered the Sahara owing to long-term preparations and commitments, but it is very doubtful if it can sustain a prolonged war against natives who are likely to fight as guerillas once the opening skirmishes are over. African troops fighting in a desert environment may be able to achieve short-term objectives, but political will of leaders and availability resourses may be difficult to sustain in a war that goes beyond a few months.

Thirdly, every one of Mali’s six neighbours is vulnerable to collateral damage. A quick and decisive military victory may give the impression of a solution, but in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Libya and one or two other African countries, it will take more than the defeat of the Malian rebels to obliterate the incipient or active resistance, or the intricate linkages which bind much of the activities of insurgencies or rebellions, or their roots. A good appreciation of what makes the Sahel region and northern reaches of West Africa fertile breeding grounds for instability and organized violence needs to be built. The Sahara is an intimidating asset and liability even to the communities which have lived for centuries in it, but it cannot, on that account alone, explain why it is currently the focus of such intense activities that threaten the sovereignty or even survival of many countries in or around it, and by its own estimation, the strategic interests of the US and its European allies. A defense strategy that limits the vulnerability of nations and interest to the unique challenges of the vast Sahara must evolve out of this adventure, or if will merely fuel more instability.

There is yet another potential danger which needs to be addressed by this initiative. Containing rebel activities in Mali could trigger more hostile activities against governments and western interests in the region. The fragility of states such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad and even the Nigerian state (which is being severely challenged by a home-grown insurgency) will be a major factor in evolving a broad strategy. The worst outcome of a containment strategy which merely limits itself to rolling back the rebels in Mali will be the intensification  of violence in countries and areas where it has already taken root. Nigeria, Algeria and Libya are particularly vulnerable, and all countries bordering them or which provide routes or shelters will remain targets of insurgencies and rebellions. Mali itself is particularly vulnerable, and the relatively-easy  collapse of the democratically- elected government, as well as the present role of the military need to be addressed.

There will be legitimate expectations that the combined forces of Europe and West Africa will defeat the northern rebel army in Mail. It will also be reasonable to expect that some far-reaching steps will be taken to address Tuareg grievances and integrate than into the political process in Mail in the longer term. By the same token, it should be expected that AQIM and its related interests will fight back. If the assertions that Ansar Al-Din and some elements of AQIM are already active in Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Libya are valid, there will have to be initiatives by all these countries to deal with their threats as they manifest locally. While they will need to collaborate to improve defense of borders and movements of small arms and sophisticated weapons in the vast Sahara, strong political will has to be deployed behind finding the roots of threats, and solutions to them.

For Nigeria, the irony would not have been lost that it is sending over 1000 troops to Mali at a time when its own forces are being pinned down in streets and highways by an illusive insurgency. Nigeria is offering the lives and limbs of its soldiers to be part of a grand strategy to bring peace and stability to Mali, at a time when a large chunk of its own territory has become an active frontline. The military admitted that soldiers on their way to Kaduna to join others flying to Mali were attacked in Kogi State, with fatalities. The revered Emir of Kano was attacked in broad daylight, again with fatalities. These events may or may not have any links with Nigeria’s role in Mali, but it will be important not to assume that there are no connections.

Nigeria’s contribution to rolling back a rebellion in Mali will be explained in terms of its strategic national interests. This will make sense in the light of information that many members of the insurgency have received training in Mali. These trained people will in turn attack the Nigerian state and population. A relatively symbolic contribution to a West African and European initiative to limit the incursion of militant Islam in the Sahel and Maghreb may escalate the Nigerian problem. This is all the more reason why the Jonathan administration should be more active in the search for options in the manner it relates to this insurgency. Just about everyone who has looked at this problem critically says that it has deep roots in bad governance, poverty and unresolved grievances. The modus operandi of the security agencies is also creating far more enemies than friends.

France and a few European countries, with US intelligence, have committed themselves to a campaign to roll back a rebellion, which may achieve short-term goals, but is uncertain in terms of the possibility of finding long-term solutions. Virtually all the West African nations contributing troops are doing so out of the obligation to put out a fire in a fellow ECOWAS member’s country, but they are acutely aware that it could flare up in their own backyard. If the campaign is short, sharp and effective, they would congratulate themselves. If, however, it is prolonged by the nature of the enemy, or the appearance that Europe and the US want to occupy Mali for an extended period and possibly tap into its fabled wealth in mineral resources, then political support will be difficult to sustain behind this campaign. Nigeria needs to assess its role in this campaign very carefully, and take steps to limit its damage at home. We do not want to be on the losing side in Mali, and fail to win the battle in Nigeria.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The 1966 Nigerian Coup and Sectional Politics

1966 Coup and the continuation of sectional politics - By Mahmoon Baba-Ahmed

It is generally established that time changes everything; but a span of forty-seven years was completely incapable of transforming the mentality and political viewpoints of some Nigerians. As a result, the unfortunate events that triggered the tragic 1966 military coup, which in turn brought about disastrous consequences, went unheeded. It could therefore be adduced that in Nigeria the passage of time does not usually produce distinct difference between the past and present.
In these circumstances such proceedings often receive impetus and motivation to metamorphose into disgusting episodes that keep producing situations in which things become uncertain. And regrettably too, Nigerians do not learn anything from the mistakes of the past and do not forget any of their immoral habits and contemptible attitudes that have in the past plunged the country into series of calamities. Any wonder they now practise them with unrestrained passion and intense fanaticism?
Driven by intense hatred, the five murderous Ibo Army Majors, instigated by two vicious Yoruba Colonels, heartlessly murdered Northern leaders in January 1966. Similarly, Southern politicians also detested them over what they scornfully referred to as their inherent inability to contribute meaningfully to national development. They considered the Northerners also as bunch of stark illiterates which are more of a liability than tangible asset to the country. In fact that was a misguided conception of Northerners by an average Southerner, even as they have been discovered by colonial administrators to be highly enlightened and completely civilised with commendable capability to manage their affairs under an intricate and efficient form of indigenous government. In that regard the British administrators gave them all the necessary incentives and support in their determined rush to hurriedly catch up with their Southern counterparts.
In the course of time, the Northerners, fifty years behind the ‘refined’ Southerners, were sufficiently mobilised by the first set of Katsina College graduates, turned out in 1927, to set up the nucleus of developing the so-called backward region. Subsequently this group of enlightened people, which included Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, formed the local intelligentsia that promoted rapid economic growth, stimulated broad interest in partisan political activities and developed modern arts and literature abreast the already existing traditional works. They also formed the bulk of pioneering political class and civil servants that led the country to independence.
However, just before independence the North was entirely dependent on Ibo artisans and technocrats who dominated all enterprises. That was indeed an unsavoury development that forced the Northern establishment to reschedule the grant of impending self-governing status to the region in 1957, along with the East and West, prior to full independence, by two years until its civil service would have been populated by indigenous personnel.
Happily, at independence the North had found its bearing and become the toast of everyone at home and abroad. It held the reins of the federal government and enjoyed comfortable majority in the federal parliament which gave it latitude and liberty to legislate laws that fostered rapid socio-economic development of the federation, based on unanimity, equity and fairness. Accordingly there was even development throughout the federation while no section complained of marginalisation  or feared domination by one region or another. Consequent upon that the Northern political class dominated the country’s political scene, and effectively precluded, through ballot box, its Southern political antagonists from coming to power. Southern politicians were so desperate to clinch power so as to have an opportunity for subjugating the North and its peoples to their whimsical, hideous designs
Failure to do so led to spiteful frustration, which as a result, encouraged intense hatred for the Northerners and gave vent to extreme dislike for their values and aspirations. They then resorted to schemes aimed at discrediting the people of the area, continually devising cunning plots and secretive plans to disunite them either through promoting sectarian crisis or fanning the embers of ethnic conflicts.
Now the intense hatred and intolerance exhibited in the First Republic by keen political rivalry between the four regions have resurfaced with renewed vigour, threatening to pull the nation down once again. Presently the country is appallingly polarised between North and South along religious line, accentuated by deep-seated attitude or feeling of disapproval of each other by citizens from both sides of the divide. While there is a degree of accord and harmony among various Southern ethic stocks, their counterparts in the North are terribly disunited, torn wide apart by religious and sectional differences which lead to occasional frictions resulting in loss of life and property.

All these happen through age-old attempts to weaken the North and disallow it from occupying its rightful position as the most important, most strategic and essential part of the federation. The perpetration of these despicable goals has completely negated the principles upon which the Sardauna and other Nigeria’s founding fathers laid the foundation for the nation’s greatness. Simply put, the Southerners have still not rested on their oars, forty-seven years after the gruesome murder of Sardauna, and are hell-bent on pulling the North down by lessening its political influence and scattering its economic potentials.

Thursday, January 10, 2013



Things You Need To Take To NYSC Orientation – NYSC Camp Requirements by Ahmed Ogundimu

NYSC Nigeria – If you are going to the Nigeria’s National Youth Orientation (NYSC) Camp soon after you have known your NYSC Posting through your call-up letter. Here are the important things you need to take along so that you don’t get stranded and helpless. Imagine if you forgot a document you need for registration in Oyo State orientation camp and you came all the way from Borno State. You don’t want to be in that situation.

I decided to write this article from my experience at the NYSC Orientation camp because I don’t want prospective Corp Members to face the same kind of hardship I faced before gaining my balance.

Requirements for Registration

Registration is the first and most important thing at the orientation camp, just like at any other place. At the registration venue, you are expected to provide the following things:
Official NYSC Camp Requirements :

1. Your final year Student ID Card
2. Notification of Result from your School (Original and Photocopies)
3. Passport Photograph (Take as many copy as you can but you will only need a few)
4. Your original call-up letter (This will be taken and not returned to you, take photocopies along too)

The forms that will be handed to you and attach your passport are very easy to fill. Fill them correctly, because if you make mistakes on your name spelling, you will have BIG Problems with your Discharge Letter. 
After your registration, you will be issued with your State Code Number. This will be like your PIN throughout your Service Year.
After you have been given your State Code, you should proceed straight to collect your mattress and your NYSC Kit. 
During my own time, I went straight to my hostel (you will be directed), put my mattress in place before going for my kit. Go for your kit on time so that you can get your size.

NOTE: Make a lot of Photocopies before going to Camp. A copy can be as much as N20 at the Orientation Camp.

Personal Needs For NYSC Camp Life – Things You Need To Take To NYSC Camp

Throughout your stay at the orientation camp, you will only be allowed to wear your white top and shorts; you might not like the ones that will be handed to you at camp so you can get those fitted LUX and CHASE DEER brands as long as they are white, your jungle boot and white canvas given to you at the camp; you might not like it so buy a fancy one along (White). With these duly pointed out, no need to pack a lot of clothes to the Camp. You should only take a few in case you need to go to Mosque on a Friday or Church on a Sunday.

NOTE: Make sure you take extra white vest and shorts to Camp because 
(1) they are very expensive at the Camp Market called MAMI MARKET (2) you will most likely not have time not to wash during the week. You will also be so tired to wash during weekdays after going through all the Military Parades and Man O War Drills.
You will also need a WAIST POUCH (usually top of the list on what you need to take to NYSC orientation camp) to keep your valuables like cash, phones, and etc. while outside your room. You don’t want to lose anything at camp, so it’s safe to get that pouch.

Don’t take materials like pressing iron, knife, fork, tin cutter to the camp. They will be seized and returned to you only on the last day of camping. I was told this is a security measure.
If you have a camera you can take it along because you will want to snap a lot of scenes. If you have a Blackberry phone, that’s good for you because you can easily and share on social networks. If you don’t have any of those, you will have to pay some guys on camp who do that as business to follow you around and snap you wherever you go. They might charge up to N2000 for the duration of the camping. They should give you all your photos and videos in CDs at the end of Camping.

You will be fed three times a day in camp but I must not lie to you, the food there is nothing to write home about. They can be nice on few occasions but most days, they are poor (that’s my own view though). If you are someone like me who loves to eat good food, make provisions for your own food. You should get some fast foods along, some breakfast cereals and beverages. You should also hold extra cash to eat at the Mami market. You will get good foods there.

You should also take a MOSQUITO NET along with you- You know why!
Take some MONEY with you. Things are very expensive at the MAMI MARKET.

I’ve been able to distinguish between the official NYSC Camp requirements and the personal needs you need to take to the NYSC Orientation Camp. Don’t confuse them. You won’t be registered at the NYSC Orientation camp if you don’t go along with any of the ” NYSC Camp Requirements ” but you will be registered if you don’t go with “things you need to take to the NYSC Camp”, you won’t just enjoy the 21 days.