Transfer: Kovacic close to leaving Chelsea after agreeing personal terms with new club
Chelsea midfielder, Mateo Kovacic is close to leaving Stamford Bridge after agreeing on personal terms with Manchester City.
Kovacic is out of contract next year with Chelsea, and the Blues are actively looking to sell players who have 12 months remaining on their deal instead of seeing them leave the club on a free transfer next summer.
Man City were given permission by Chelsea to hold talks with Kovacic last week over a move this summer transfer window.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Pep Guardiola’s side have now agreed on a contract with the Croatia international.
The Premier League champions will now continue negotiations with Chelsea over a fee for Kovacic, who was signed in a £40m deal from Real Madrid back in 2019.
National Assembly leadership: Tinubu’s meeting with lawmakers fails to resolve zoning crisis
•President called for zoning, failed to name anointed aspirants – Sources
•Opposition parties claim majority, plot to use number against APC candidates
Five days to the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, President Bola Tinubu’s meetings with lawmakers-elect failed to resolve the crisis over the All Progressives Congress zoning arrangement.
The APC National Working Committee had micro-zoned the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President seats to Senator Godswill Akpabio from South-South and Senator Jibrin Barau from North-West, respectively.
But other aspirants like Senators Abdulaziz Yari, (Zamfara West); Osita Izunaso (Imo West) and Orji Kalu (Abia North) have insisted that they would not step down for the party’s consensus candidate.
In the House, the APC leadership had also endorsed the member-elect representing Kaduna (North-West), Tajudeen Abbas, as speakership candidate, while the member-elect from Abia State (South-East), Benjamin Kalu, clinched the Deputy Speaker slot.
The aspirants, who were among the lawmakers who held a meeting with the President at the Aso Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday night, were still lobbying their colleagues and strategising to upturn the APC’s zoning arrangement for the NASSS principal positions as of Thursday.
This is happening as the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party have concluded plans to frustrate the APC’s plan for the NASS leadership offices.
The PDP confirmed on Thursday it had entered an agreement with other opposition parties to leverage on their numbers in influencing the election of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Findings by The PUNCH indicated that at least two members of the G-7, a group of anti-zoning aspirants for the speaker position, might contest against Abbas.
The group has, however, not officially declared its consensus candidate to run against Abbas.
While Abbas is from Kaduna State in the North-West, members of the G-7 who are from the same geopolitical zone with the APC candidate are Sani Jaji from Zamfara State and Sada Soli from Katsina State.
The PUNCH learnt on Thursday that despite his interventions, aspirants were capitalising on the fact that the President during his meetings with the aspirants and the members-elect did not directly ask for support for Abbas and Kalu.
Member-elect for the Ningi/Warji Federal Constituency in Bauchi State, Adamu Ranga, told one of our correspondents that the President did not voice support for any of the candidates vying for the senate or House leadership, but he simply called for a united front.
Ranga said, “Mr President spoke to the general assembly, both Senate and the House of Representatives, in order to ensure that we have a solid government. Secondly, he emphasised that he will perform an open-door policy for everybody.
“Whoever wants to see him can see him without any hindrance. And whatever you want to discuss with him, he will give you that privilege to discuss. Thirdly, he said we should put our constituency first since we are here to represent them. He mentioned that he wants the Senate and the House to cooperate to elect good leaders.”
A member-elect for Enugu East/Isiuzo Federal Constituency, Prof Paul Nnamchi, told The PUNCH that Tinubu appealed to lawmakers to uphold national interest.
“He appealed that we should forget about party politics and face national interest. That was the major part of his speech. He didn’t mention anybody’s name to be voted for. Maybe he is appealing, but I didn’t hear anybody’s name,” Nnamchi said.
Sources in the G-7 also confirmed that Tinubu asked members-elect to work with the zoning plan of the APC, clearing the way for aspirants for a position allocated to a particular zone to contest against themselves.
A source close to Jaji and Wase said, “Prior to yesterday (Wednesday meeting), there was a meeting of the aspirants with Tinubu at the State House. He was not categorical. What he told them there and then was that the zoning stands.
‘’But he did not say ‘support Abbas’ but he said ‘zoning of the party stands.’ So, invariably, what he was trying to tell them, based on our interpretation, is that those aspirants from that zone can go ahead and contest.”
When asked about Wase who has said he would be the next Speaker of the House despite being from Plateau State in the North-Central, where no leadership position was zoned to, the source admitted that “it does not favour him.”
However, the source stated, “That is what Tinubu told members-elect on that day. I can confirm that one,” adding that, “It leaves Jaji, Soli and Abbas – the three of them – to slug it out.”
When asked to be categorical if Jaji was going ahead to contest against Abbas, the source said, ‘Yes, he is.” The source, however, could not say the same about Wase.
The source further disclosed that Jaji held a meeting with some members-elect at his Abuja office on Thursday afternoon, as part of his continued lobbying for votes.
While the source faulted the reports that Wase and Jaji shunned the Wednesday night meeting with Tinubu, he could not confirm if they were at the general meeting which was held on Thursday.
The source also confirmed the meeting between the G-7 and members-elect scheduled for Saturday.
The PUNCH had reported on Thursday that the group of aggrieved aspirants might declare its consensus candidate at the meeting, ahead of the inauguration of the 10th Assembly.
A member-elect also confirmed that the President urged the incoming lawmakers across party lines to work with the APC.
The opposition PDP member said, “He (Tinubu) spoke very well, frankly. He stressed on the importance of nation-building and working together. He said politics is over, it is time now to focus on governance, in building confidence and ensuring that we focus on delivering service to the people.’’
When asked if the issue of zoning Tinubu mentioned was in the context of the 10th Assembly leadership, the lawmaker said, “Yes, he enjoined everybody to support the choice they have made and work together.”
The member-elect added, “Before then, the Vice-President (Kashim Shettima) had stressed the need not to push too far the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket by allowing a third person – the Senate President – to also have an Islamic background. You know that Yari is contesting for President of the Senate.”
According to him, the senators-elect will decide Akpabio’s fate.
“Let me tell you: many people don’t understand how the parliament works. There is a role for the party. Immediately a party has won the election and it is the majority in the parliament, the party has a decision to make and who to support. And if they zone their way to the leadership position, that is their prerogative. It is not really about zoning, it is about nomination and a party has the duty to nominate and support someone. And they have done that,’’ the lawmaker declared.
Vice President Kashim Shettima, outgoing Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, were present at the meeting.
Others were former Governor of Akwa Ibom and Senate Presidency aspirant, Godswill Akpabio, former governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi and Edo, Adams Oshiomhole.
Osita Izunaso, Sani Bello, Aliyu Wammako and speakership contender Abbas also attended the parley.
However, former Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, were not spotted at the meeting.
Speaking with The PUNCH, Kehinde Olaosebikan, the media consultant speaking for the senator-elect representing Imo West, senator Osita Izunaso stated that his principal was not stepping down for anyone.
He noted that the president never told anyone to step down for anyone, rather, he demanded a Christian as the Senate President.
He said, “ The President never told anyone to step down for anyone. He only made a case for a Christian as the Senate President, and this makes my boss more qualified.”
Olaosebikan further noted that the boss would be Senate President.
He said, “ Senator Izunazo would be Senate President by God’s grace and he isn’t stepping down for anyone. “
Similarly, Emeka Nwala, the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate Whip, Orji Kalu, stated that nothing had changed as his boss was still in the race.
He said, “It’s too early to determine a thong. Senator Kalu is still in the race.”
Efforts to get the Director-General of Wase Campaign and DG of Jaji Campaign, Messrs Olufemi Bamisile and Olaide Akinremi, respectively, proved abortive on Thursday.
A text message was sent to them asking them to confirm if their candidates would go ahead to contest against Abbas or if they are under pressure to back out of the race. They had yet to reply to it as of press time on Thursday night.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, said the opposition party had entered into a working agreement with other opposition parties ahead of the inauguration of the parliament.
Although the publicity scribe did not disclose if the PDP would field candidates for both positions, he noted that the situation would be clearer on Tuesday when the 10th Assembly would be inaugurated.
According to him, lawmakers elected on the platform of the PDP are united, stressing that opposition parties are ready to leverage on their numbers to have a say on who becomes the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
At the conclusion of the February 25 parliamentary elections, the APC produced 59 Senators leaving the opposition parties with 50. In the House of Representatives, the ruling party boasts of 177 members while opposition parties have 182.
But Ologunagba said the parliament, being the symbol of democracy, must be protected from anti-democratic forces, adding that the party is working in collaboration with its members-elect in both houses to forge a common front ahead of Tuesday’s inauguration.
“With regard to the current race for the Presiding Officers of the National Assembly, it is instructive to note that the opposition parties put together form a strong majority in the National Assembly and we are very mindful of that. The PDP leadership is working together with our members-elect and opposition parties in the two chambers.
Meanwhile, the Abbas/Kalu Campaign secretariat has said the President is firm on the zoning plan of the APC for the coming 10th National Assembly during his meeting with Senators-elect.
According to the campaign in a statement issued on Thursday, the President did not have plans to dump the candidates adopted by the APC for 10th Assembly leadership.
The statement was titled, ‘10th Assembly: Tinubu remains firm on APC’s endorsed candidates…Appeals to governors, lawmakers-elect to work for party’s candidates…as Wase, Jaji boycott meeting with President.’
However, the Abbas/Kalu campaign claimed that most of the G-7 members stepped down after Tinubu’s intervention in the matter.
The statement read, “Tinubu spoke firmly on the need to work for the victory of the APC’s candidates for the 10th NASS leadership. He begged them to work for Akpabio, Abbas, Barau and Kalu.
“He said the success of his administration largely depends on whether or not he gets it right with the leadership of the National Assembly. He urged them to see reason with him. He said the candidates were chosen for the stability of the nation.”
“Wase had said during the House valedictory session on Wednesday that he would go ahead to contest for the Speaker’s seat because it has been prophesied that he would become Speaker. There is a likelihood that only Wase would go to the floor to contest, while others may step down after the President’s appeal.”
LP unfolds plan
Speaking on the election, a member-elect, Victor Ogene, said the Labour Party lawmakers had yet to decide on the aspirant to support, noting however, that once a decision was made on that, it would be a bloc vote.
“The LP has yet to decide on a particular candidate, but I can assure you that we are going to vote en bloc, the consultation is on. I do not know those we will vote for yet, but I know those we will not vote for. I just want to tell you that we will not be railroad in choosing anybody; it will be a conscious decision,’’ he told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday.
The Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, on Thursday, met members-elect of the coming 10th National Assembly on the platform of the Labour Party over the leadership aspirants to adopt as candidates of the opposition party.
Otti, in his brief comment at the meeting, said he chose to meet with the lawmakers-elect after meeting with President Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Ahead of the inauguration, 35 members-elect from the South-East geopolitical zone have endorsed Abbas and Kalu as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the coming 10th House of Representatives, respectively.
After a meeting of the caucus in Abuja on Thursday, 35 of the 43 members-elect from the South-East across party lines, signed for the APC’s consensus candidates.
The outgoing Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Iduma Igariwey, made the announcement during the meeting with Abbas, Kalu and their campaign team, noting that more endorsements were still coming.
Igariwey said other members of the caucus who were not in Abuja would sign when they return.
In a related development, a pro-democracy group under the aegis of The Natives on Thursday pleaded with the former governor of Zamfara State, Yari, to step down for the joint ticket of Akpabio and Barau.
Addressing a world press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Convener of The Natives, Smart Edward, argued that for the sake of equity and fairness, only a Christian and a unifier like Akpabio should be allowed to lead the 10th Senate.
While noting that Nigeria is a secular state, Edward further urged other lawmakers to respect the choice of President Bola Tinubu and the ruling APC on the need to balance the religious representation in the new government.
He said, “We say ‘No’ to Senator Yari’s ambition and in the name of the country, we appeal to him in the name of our dear country to please shelve this ambition for all and become the hero. What the average Nigerian is looking for now is strong institutions not strong individuals, sustainable development in all facets of our nation, and policies that uplift the poor and promote economic prosperity.
“We cannot toy with the expensive portrayal of acts that can widen the divide of the people post elections, while it is politically permissible, we persuade the 10th Assembly to dissociate themselves from any political, financial and insensitive approach or act that will promote a Muslim for the office of the Senate President for this is a display of national sabotage.
“While the ruling party may have presented these candidates, we appreciate its efforts to assuage other regions and make sacrifices to see a pan-Nigerian, nationalistic, equitable and fair balance of the spirit and letters of our constitution.’’
[OPINION] Homosexuality should neither be criminalised nor weaponised - Owei Lakemfa
Homosexuality has in contemporary times been hotly debated and discussed but with little attention paid to the persons involved. I have been guilty of this excessive concentration on its politics and diplomacy; its local and international misuse, and its commercialisation, to the detriment of the human beings involved.
During pregnancy, some babies may not be fully developed. This situation during fetal development may lead to birth defects such as missing limbs and other physical malfunctions. Some babies may be born without genitals; girls born without vagina are said to have vaginal agenesis.
There is also what is classified as ambigous genetalia; these are babies born without clearly defined male or female genitals. There are, of course, hermaphrodites: babies born having both male and female genitals. There are also babies born that do not fit into the male and female binaries; a baby may be born with large clitoris but no vagina opening; another could be born with labia-like scrotum.
There are females whose bodies produce high testosterone which leads to increased muscle and bone mass giving them a male physique. This is natural and nobody should be punished for their natural makeup. This is why I opposed the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF, when it ruled that 800 metres Olympics Champion, Caster Semenya must take drugs to suppress such hormone. It is possible for such females to feel they are men, just as there are males who feel they are female.
These various birth circumstances and other natural cases may lead to different sexual preferences including being chosen by nature to be homosexuals rather than they making that choice. Now, there is no way such a choice can be criminalized.
Homosexuals are as old as the rest of humanity and had not been seen as a challenge to other peoples. This was largely the case until powerful people, for their own ends, became proselytes of homosexuality and began championing it. They began presenting society as a dualistic composition and a competition between homosexuals and non-homosexuals. They present homosexuals as the minority group in society with special needs and entitled to special privileges, recognition and empowerment. These tribe of the rich and powerful, seek to turn the world upside down like they did in Iraq; manufacturing essentially non-existent conflicts. They have gone out not just to try to promote and impose a gay culture on the rest of humanity, but also to punish people who resist. This they are doing to a number of African countries. But the issue is not about race. It is more about those who benefit from any given situation which is the intuitive nature of the capitalist mind set.
Things got to a head in Hungary when 134 members of the Parliament on December 15, 2020, ratified a law that reinforced the right of Hungarians to self-identify in accordance with their sex at birth. The new law emphasized that: “The foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship.” It added for emphasis that: “The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”
Some other countries reacted in more drastic ways by not just criminalising homosexuality but also exploiting popular sentiments to bare their fascist fangs by imposing the death penalty.
The challenge to homosexuality is not the sexual orientation, but its exploitation, commercialisation and weaponisation.
There are well funded non-governmental organisations, NGOs, that are going round the world spreading the ‘gospel’ of homosexuality and recruiting even children. There are cartoons and films depicting homosexuality as the way of life for the powerful and rich.
There are school text books for kids on homosexuality. Soon, it may be part of the basic curriculum in nursery and primary schools. Last week, a message that went viral was titled: ‘Inclusion of sex and homosexuality in Nigerian Primary and Secondary School Textbooks’. It purports to list text books and pages promoting homosexuality, vulgarity and abortion. There are now homosexual children clothes lines in the West.
Just as some groups in the West promoted the so-called war of the sexes, so are they promoting the war of sexual orientation. Pro-homosexual NGOs have penetrated various strata of society. Given the prevalence of poverty in many parts of Africa, the NGOs are at the mercy of Western donors and many tend to align with the changing focus of their donors. So, if an NGO gets funding to promote homosexuality, that precisely is what it is going to do as it must justify the funds it is receiving. The same goes for anti-homosexual NGOs many of which are being promoted by churches in the United States. These American churches have since 2007, sent over $54 million promoting anti-gay campaigns in Africa. Globally, they spent over $280 million. The American Fellowship Foundation alone in ten years from 2008, spent over $20 million on Uganda.
On March 8, 2022, the United States government announced a $2.6 billion 2023 budget for foreign aid to promote gendrer equality and equity. A lot of this will go to promoting homosexuality which is lumped with checking discrimination amongst girls and indigenous women. Since 2012, the US government has spent $41 million promoting gay rights.
The question is: if the West is interested in Africa’s development, why impose economic sanctions because the continent refuses to be dictated to on sexual preferences?
Africa is being turned into a battle ground. No lessons appear to have been learnt in the split of the Anglican Church when Canterbury tried to impose the homosexual culture. In fact, it was the Nigeria Church that led the revolt.
What this type of diplomacy has resulted in, is the mobilisation of other citizens against gays. This has led to serious antagonism against our homosexual brothers and sisters. This backlash is the cause of the rising tide against homosexuals and the spate of draconian laws against them.
The approach of some of the Western countries offend the sensibilities of many African peoples. They need to understand that the challenge in Africa is not the sexual orientation of peoples but the struggle for existential survival. Such countries need to realise that their ways are not our ways; our people are not their people, our culture is not their culture and our future is not their future. So they need to treat other people with respect.
It is almost impossible, and in any case, not advisable for homosexuals to have their own distinct communities in Africa. A change of perception and approach will lead to mutual existence by all.
10th NASS leadership: Uncertainty over presiding officers
•Tinubu meets with members, and keeps mum on the preferred choice
•North insists on producing a Senate president
AHEAD of the June 13 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, the fate of those aspiring to become presiding officers seems hanging in the balance as President Bola Tinubu is yet to make a formal pronouncement on it.
Vanguard was reliably informed that though the president met with lawmakers-elect at Aso Rock Villa Wednesday night, some of the contenders, including former governors of Zamfara and Abia states, Abdulaziz Yari and Orji Kalu, among others, were absent at the meeting.
A source privy to the meeting, also disclosed that some northern leaders are insisting that the north produced both Senate President and speaker of the House of Representatives.
Speaking on the development, a lawmaker-elect, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “At the time you called, I was about entering the Villa. For now, nothing has changed. The president didn’t mention any name while meeting with us, all he said was that we should work and be united. That was all he said.”
On whether the president will support Senator Godswill Akpabio and Mr Tajudeen Abass for the Senate presidency and speakership, the source said: “I am just leaving the meeting and the president didn’t say he has preferred candidates.”
On the North’s position on the 10th NASS leadership, he said: “This is a northern agenda, they don’t want Tinubu to control the Senate but as for the G-6, they are still intact, although Betara has withdrawn from the race his supporters have shifted base to Idris Wase.
“The president’s claim of religious balancing is what is most vexatious. How can he say so because his chief of staff is not just from Lagos, the same state? Is Gbajabiamila, not a Muslim? We shall meet on the floor on Tuesday.”
Recall that the All Progressives Congress, APC, chose Godswill Akpabio from the South-South zone and Senator Jubrin Barau from the North West zone as Senate president and deputy president respectively.
It also anointed Tajudeen Abass from the North West and Benjamin Kalu from the South East as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The party’s choice has, however, drawn criticisms and condemnation from other contestants for the principal positions of the National Assembly.
Aregbesola: I bear no grudge against anyone in Osun | Tinubu is the architect of my success
Rauf Aregbesola, immediate past minister of interior, says he does not hold any grudge against anyone in Osun state.
Aregbesola spoke on Wednesday at the palace of Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun Larooye II, Ataoja of Osogbo.
The event was to celebrate his return to the state after spending four years as a minister in the cabinet of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the build-up to the 2023 elections, Aregbesola and Adegboyega Oyetola, the immediate past governor of Osun, fell out.
In July 2022, the former minister described the primary election that gave Oyetola the guber ticket as a “sham”. Moshood Adeoti, his choice of candidate, lost to Oyetola.
Speaking at the palace, Aregbesola asked the monarch to plead with all the people he might have had issues with in the past.
“I hold no grudge against anyone in Osogbo or Osun. My hands are wide open to work and receive anyone,” the former minister said.
“Anyone who has issues with me has their reasons, but I hold no grudge against anyone.
“It is never my desire to leave any of them, but now that they have gone the way they did, I beseech you, our royal father, to plead with them. I would always wish them well and always desire to work with them.
“I have come here today to beg for forgiveness from anybody who is offended towards me.
“The reason why people are applauding me over my successes in Osun today was because of the great work I did when I was in government and those who turned themselves into enemies today, we worked together in government.
“Anywhere I am, please be rest assured that Osogbo and Osun’s interests are covered.
“I was born in Ikare Akoko. It is surprising that a boy born in Ikare Akoko became a commissioner in Lagos and governor in Osun. That is the work of God. He used Asiwaju to lead me to the path of success.
“I thank God who brought me to Lagos through the assistance of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He is the architect of my success. I spent eight years as commissioner in Lagos.
“In 2004, we had a meeting in Badagry where we talked about how we will take over our states from the opposition party.
“Asiwaju Tinubu and other Yoruba elders directed me to come and take over my fatherland — Osun state. That it was my next place of assignment.”
[OPINION] Hilda Baci, Jackie Idimogu and dog meat controversy - Jude Eze
The first weekend of this month, apparently started on merriment note for the Nigerian world record holder for longest cheffing hours at a stretch in a Cookathon of over 100 hours — Hilda Baci, but it ended in attrition with debilitating anticlimax after she came under attack from an acclaimed Animals Rights crusader, Jackie Idimogu following a viral video showing her devour dog meat with gleeful braggadocio.
The incident was a comic relief for so many Nigerians who had been under depressive melancholy following the knee jerk declaration by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his swearing-in ceremony that "Fuel subsidy is gone!" As the two videos found their ways into social media, attention was temporarily shifted from the biting harsh economic atmosphere in the country, resulting from the hiked fuel prices, to discourses on the morality or otherwise of Hilda's "escapade" with dog meat.
While the debate raged on, some commentators toddled between moral relativism and ethical extremism. One rose in defense of Hilda, affirming her right to eat any flesh meat of edible animals; the other in condemnation, proclaiming "an international charter" against dog meat eaters. The former argued that there's nothing wrong and special about dogs, neither is there any impediment against one who choose to eat any animal that one relishes its meat. But the later argued that dogs are pets, nicknamed "man's friends" and not a livestock like goats, and therefore it is unfair to eat their flesh meats.
The denouement of public emotional exercises on the subject matter came without delineated definition of terms. As usual, in the court of public opinions, gavels are slammed at different and often contradicting notes.
What is a dog? What is a livestock? Who holds the authority to define which animal should be pet and which should be livestock? For instance World Health Organization (WHO) defines which disease should be designated as pandemic or not. In the case of animal status speciation, one would ask, who defines it? Does Nigeria have animal rights law? Does our culture(s) uniformly define what phylum or class of animals should be eaten or not?
Honest answers to these questions can help us elucidate on the hullabaloo and understand the justification of the position(s) each party favoured in the conversation.
Nigeria (like the world) is a multiethnic, multicultural society. And every ethnic group has what appeals to it. For instance, python which is revered and never killed or eaten in Anambra State is a cherished proteinous delicacy in Ebonyi State. But does Anambrarians have any moral temerity to berate Ebonyians for enjoying a creature they choose not to eat?
To a typical Nsukka man, the meat of wild rabbit (ewi) is a good source of protein diet. But to a native Nnewi man, it is a revered sacred vicarious animal of Édò deity (the ancestral deity of community protection to Nnewi people). It is against the custom of the land to kill it or even treat it with levity. If one, by accident, kills a bush rabbit, one is bound by tradition to accord it a full burial rite, to appease the gods.
Same goes to some other wild cold-bloodied animals such as reptiles amongst not a few communities in the Southeast.
Some of them avoid these animals due to their belief that certain species of animals are impure/unclean, while others do same out of traditional religious piety. It was a common practice among ancient adherents of Judaism (Lev. 11:1-48), until after Christ (Acts 10:9-15).
Everyone in Nigeria knows that three states of Plateau, Cross River and Akwaibom have widespread and prevailing dog meat-eating culture that dates back to antiquity. Hilda is a proud Akwaibomite, and I doubt if that makes any sense to Jackie. Does she know that her inflammatory advocacy and berating comments on Hilda may be offending not just Akwaibom and Cross River and Plateau people but also to every other states whose citizenry delight in dog meat?
It is understandable that the Western world has culture of keeping some animal species as pets (e.g parrots, tilapia fish in aquariums, cats, dogs etc). But such zoonotic acquiescence was never given global appeal. While England for instance, has Animal Welfare Act through which it fined French and West Ham United star Kurt Zouma in February last year, for kicking his cat, countries like China, South Korea, Philippines republic have reputation for eating cats without incurring the guilt of conscience or hurdle of civil law.
As posited above, from religious point of view, some can argue that Hilda, like every other Christian is justified to eat any animal created by God which she deem safe as contained in Acts 10:9-16.
In Islam, pork (flesh meat of pig) is outlawed. The main reason pork is forbidden for Muslims is because it says in the Holy Quran that some food is allowed, while others are explicitly declared "haram," which means forbidden. And pork is one of those forbidden foods. In fact, it stands boldly written in their holy book: “He has forbidden you only dead animals, and blood, and the swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than God.” (Quran 2:173).
But in the streets of Nigeria, pork barbecue spots are common sights, yet our Muslim brothers and sisters never attacked Christians who patronize spots, as Jackie attacked Hilda for relishing dog meat.
Contextually, Jackie seems to be indicting Hilda more from place of emotions than reason. When she brought her recent rare feat of Cookathon in the foray, she triggered suspicion of envy among critics.
“And now that the torchlight of the world is on Nigeria through Hilda, she decide that what she want to show the world is that Nigerians are dog eaters? No, no. I’m making this video to refute the fact that Nigerians are not dog eaters” emphasized Jackie in her video.
Was she trying to blackmail Hilda from being true to her native culture? Or is she merely envious of her chef d'œuvre accomplishment that she had to injure her chances of getting the official recognition plaque by inciting the managers of Guinness Book of Records to say that she is "brutal" to pets? How do they even connect?
On the flip side, she seemingly posed like someone doing image-laundering for Nigeria by saying she made the "video to refute the fact that Nigerians are not dog eaters.”
How does her video help Nigeria? Will her Nigeria's "non-dog eating" status make Nigeria be ranked more prominently than China, Korea and other first world countries in Asia that delight in the meat?
Another unsettling aspect of her "righteous" advocacy for dog rights is her desperation to impose European culture of idolizing selected animals (pets) as man's friends. Irredentism with a touch of neocolonialist mentality. To many Africans nay Nigerians, dogs are treated in line with what they truly are — a carnivores (flesh eaters) of the fox family that can be handled like every other animal, or domesticated like fowls.
However, another critical look at Hilda's video reveals scandalous flippancy in the way she ate the meat which doesn't send good message to our younger generations who look up to her as role model. She displayed such voracious savagery in devouring the meat while persuading her 'accomplice' — Enioluwa Adeoluwa to have a bite. A hideous lack of table manners, judging from culinary ethical point of view. Popular Igbo adage say that "onye a na-ekiri ekiri adiro mma igba oto" — Icon of admiration ought not scandalize him/herself. To whom much is given, much is accepted.
May daylight spare us!
[OPINION] The Real Subsidies Are Not For The Poor, But The Rich - Femi Falana, SAN
Globally, subsidies, whether for food, transportation, energy or housing, are part of good governance. So, the issue is not subsidies but who benefit from them. In Nigeria, subsidies are primarily of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. I will highlight a few, how they are being manipulated and how huge sums of money can be recovered not just to subsidize fuel but also provide funds for development.
1. Diversion of N40 billion from Federation Account
A company, Continental Transfert Technique had been hired by the Ministry of Interior to collect the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) Fee of $2,000 per annum from every expatriate in Nigeria. The revenue from 2019 comes to an average of N40 billion per annum. This collection which violates Section 162 of the Constitution and provisions of the Immigration Act 2015, is then shared on percentages of Federal Government, 30, Interior Ministry, 7, Immigration Service, and Continental Transfert Technique, 58 per-cent.
We challenged this illegality at the Federal High Court and won the cases. The court directed the NIS to collect the funds henceforth and remit same to the Federation Account. But the contractor and the federal government appealed against the judgment and have continued to share the N40 billion per annum.
2. Additional Revenue of $1.5 billion payable to Federation Account
In July 2015, I drew the attention of the Federal Government to the fact that the 15-year fiscal incentives given to the oil and gas companies operating under the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act had expired in June 2014. When the Federal Government ignored our request, we drafted a Bill for the amendment of the law. The Bill which was adopted and sponsored by Senator T. Orji scaled the first reading in the Senate but was not passed before the dissolution of the 8th National Assembly.
However, the same Bill was modified and passed by both houses of the 9th National Assembly and assented to by President Buhari on November 4, 2019. In justifying the passage of this Bill, Senate President Ahmed Lawan announced that the new law would increase the revenue of the nation by not less than $1.5 billion per annum.
3. Outstanding royalties of $62 billion
In campaigning for the amendment of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, I requested the Federal Government to collect outstanding royalties payable by the International Oil Companies under the Act. The Federal Government admitted that the country had lost a whopping sum of $60 billion. But my demand for the collection of the huge fund was ignored.
The governments of Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States then approached the Supreme Court which on October 20, 2018 ordered the Federal Government to collect the royalties for the past 18 years. The Federal Government confirmed that the outstanding royalty withheld by the IOCs is $62 billion but has refused to collect it.
4. FG denied revenue of $500 million by a group of corrupt public officers
The international Cargo Tracking Note Scheme to protect international shipping and prevent the movement of dangerous cargo and arms shipments was introduced into Nigeria in 2010 via an agreement between the Nigerian Port Authority and TPMS, a private company. Barely a year later, the agreement was suspended. When our attention was drawn to the illegal suspension of the Cargo Tracking Note system, we protested and the suspension was lifted on May 28, 2015 only to be suspended again in 2016.
In 2022, President Buhari issued an executive order which authorized a company to operate the Cargo Tracking Note. But 5 companies sponsored by top government functionaries overruled the President and hijacked the contract. The company that won the contract has since sued the federal government at the Federal High Court. Meanwhile, Nigeria has lost at least $500 million while the security of the nation has been compromised by a bunch of corrupt public officers.
5. Sale of public assets and enterprises
Successive regimes have been selling assets and enterprises owned by the Federal Government to members of the ruling class in the name of privatisation. The buyers turned round to engage in asset stripping. According to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, between 2004 and 2002, the federal government sold 142 public enterprises to members of the ruling class.
The 10 per cent shares reserved for the staff of every privatised enterprise have been cornered by the so called "core investors" contrary to the provision of section 5(3) òf the Privatization and Commercialization Act.
6. $7 billion fixed in 14 banks
Sometime in 2006, the CBN yanked off $7 billion from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed it in 14 commercial banks in Nigeria. The deposit and the accrued interests were not recovered from the banks. When I reported the matter to one one of the anti-graft agencies, the CBN claimed that it had forgiven “the forbearance”.
7. Sale of Polaris by Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank, Union Bank and Polaris Bank by CBN
The CBN took over Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank, Union Bank and Polaris Bank, spent trillions of Naira to revitalise them only to turn round to sell them under the table. For instance, CBN invested N1.3 trillion in Polaris Bank but sold it for N50 billion!
8. Theft of Crude oil
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has revealed that Nigeria lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at N16.25 trillion ($46.16 billion) to crude oil theft between 2009 and 2020. Immediate past National Security Adviser, General Babagana said that Nigeria might lose $23 billion in 2023 to crude oil theft.
9. Theft of gold and other solid minerals
The theft of the nation’s mineral resources is not limited to crude as solid minerals are equally smuggled out of the country by highly placed criminal elements. Former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah recently disclosed that private jets are being used by the rich for gold smuggling in Nigeria. He stated this at an investigative hearing on $9 billion annual loss to illegal mining and smuggling of gold organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy. During his contribution at the hearing, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu disclosed that Nigeria lost close to $54b from 2012-2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold.
10. AMCON is owed N5.4 trillion by the rich
A few years ago, commercial banks were going to collapse due to toxic loans taken by members of the ruling class. To prevent the impending economic doom, the Federal Government set up the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to buy off the loans with trillions of Naira provided by the CBN. AMCON has not been able to recover the loans of N5.4 trillion from about 370 corporate bodies.
11. Indiscriminate import duty waivers
A few privileged members of the business community buy dollars at official rate while they are allowed to import all manners of goods into the country. In the last 5 years, import duties worth N16 trillion were waived for them.
12. Effort to track and monitor tankers conveying fuel sabotage by NNPC
On August 8, 2018, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the installation of technology monitoring schemes and structures under the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) for N17 billion. The technology which was designed to track and monitor tankers conveying fuel and other petroleum products was not acquired while the N17 billion approved for it was diverted.
13. N10 trillion diverted by CEOs of Government enterprises
The Buhari government revealed on December 19, 2018 that government enterprises including the CBN owed about N10 trillion in unremitted operating surplus as at August 2018. The details were provided. The said sum of N10 trillion remains unpaid.
14. N6 trillion unpaid ground rents by buyers of Government properties
On March 29, 2023, the Senate noted that since 1992, over two million houses across the 36 states and the FCT had been built and allocated to beneficiaries by the federal government without evidence of payment of ground rent on the properties. Consequently, the Senate set up an Ad Hoc Committee to recover over N6 trillion unpaid ground rents from property owners in the country.
15. Stolen crude oil valued at $29.17 billion
A group of lawyers engaged by NIMASA confirmed that 60.2 million barrels of crude oil valued at $12.7 billion of crude oil was stolen and illegally exported to the United States of America between January 2011 and 2014. This has not been recovered. Also, the House of Representatives investigated and confirmed that undeclared crude oil worth $17 billion was exported to global destinations during the same period. The affected companies are known but government seems to lack the will to bring them to book and recover the sum of $29.7 billion being the value of the stolen crude.
16. Oil theft of N16.25 trillion
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) revealed that between 2009 and 2020 Nigeria lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at N16.25 trillion ($46.16 billion) to oil theft. The security forces have not been able to stop the stealing and smuggling of crude oil from Nigeria.
However, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL), a private company discovered pipelines through which crude oil was being diverted from a 40,000 barrel per day Forcados pipeline to the high seas for export. The indicted oil companies including an IOC involved in this grand theft are yet to be prosecuted.
17. Deduction of collection costs by FIRS & NCS
The Federal Inland Revenue Service and Nigeria Customs Service are allowed by their enabling laws to deduct percentages of the taxes and duties collected by them as collection costs. Thus, the FIRS between 2016 and 2020 made N533.39 billion deductions while Nigeria Customs Service withdrew N128.64 billion as cost of collection in 2022.
The laws which allow agencies of the Federal Government to deduct collection costs are contrary and inconsistent with section 162 of the Constitution which provides that all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation shall be paid into the Federation Account.
18. Diversion of $6.065 billion approved for turn-around maintenance of refineries
Between 1993 and 2016, successive regimes spent, through the NNPC, about $6.065 billon on the so-called turn around maintenance and rehabilitation of the four refineries at various times.
It is public knowledge that the turn-around maintenance of the refineries was not carried out. Therefore, the contractors should be invited by the EFCC and compelled to refund the said sum of $6.025 billion.
19. Investment in Dangote refinery and rehabilitation of 4 refineries
The Federal Government has invested $2.7 billion in Dangote Refinery while the NNPCL will supply the refinery with 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Furthermore, the Government has awarded the contracts for the rehabilitation of the two refineries in Port Harcourt for $1.5 billion, as well as Kaduna and Warri refineries for $1.4 billion.
We are compelled to call on the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to monitor the ongoing rehabilitation and upgrade of the 4 refineries.
20. Special salaries for top public officers, security votes, and pension for governors
Top public officers have illegally taken themselves out of the general salary structure. For instance, contrary to section 70 of the Constitution which provides that the salaries and allowances of legislators shall be fixed by the Revenue Allocation Mobilization and Fiscal Commission the members of the National Assembly are paid emoluments ranging from N13 million to N15 million per month.
In addition to their salaries the 36 State Governors are paid security votes running into hundreds of millions per month. The largesse has since been extended to all senior public officers, including heads of ministries, departments, and agencies of the federal and state governments, as well as local government chairmen. The security votes paid to senior public officers are about N241 billion per annum.
As if such subsidy is not enough, state governors have been placed on scandalous pension of billions of Naira. But due to public criticisms, the Lagos State Government has halved the pension for ex-governors while the Governments of Kwara, Imo, and Zamfara States have abolished the payment of the outrageous pension to former governors and deputies. We call on all other state governments to emulate the example of the aforementioned 3 state governments.
21. Diversion of dividend and feed gas of $33 billion by NNPCL
Nigeria LNG Limited is jointly owned by Nigeria and the OICs. The 49% shares of Nigeria in the joint venture were paid for from the Federation Account in 1989. On March 29, 2021, former President Buhari disclosed that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) had generated $114 billion in revenues, paid $9 billion in taxes, $18 billion as dividend and $15 billion in Feed Gas Purchase to the Federal Government. However, rather than pay the fund into the federation account as constitutionally directed, the $33.9 billion dividend and feed gas was diverted by the NNPCL.
22. Diversion of trillions of Naira through fuel subsidy fund
Notwithstanding the allocation of 445,000 barrels of crude oil to NNPC per day for domestic consumption, it has been confirmed that the figures for fuel importation in Nigeria between 1999 and 2023 are as follows:
1. 1999-2006 =N813 billion;
2. 2007-2009= N794 billion;
3. 2010-2014= N3.9 trillion;
4. 2015-2023= N11 trillion.
Last week, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari stunned the nation when he said that the federal government still owes the company N2.8 trillion in fuel subsidy payments. But the monumental fraud that has characterized the fuel subsidy scam has been confirmed by the Buhari regime.
Thus, on March 27, 2022, former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva publicly lamented the controversies surrounding the amount of petrol that the nation consumes daily, said the subsidy regime encouraged criminal activities like smuggling, which in turn impact negatively on the nation’s oil resources. He said that, “I am told the figure sometimes rise to as high as 90 or over 100 million litres. I don’t know how that happens. At this rate, I have said if anyone is looking at a criminal enterprise, look no further than the fuel subsidy.” The criminal enterprise ought to be probed by the Bola Tinubu administration.
It is crystal clear form the foregoing that members of the ruling class are heavily subsidized by the peripheral capitalist system while the masses are subjected to excruciating economic pains. We are therefore compelled to call on the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress as well as the progressive extraction of the civil society to mount pressure on the federal government to stop the dollarisation of the national economy, indiscriminate grant of duty waivers, theft of crude oil, gold, and other mineral resources and recover the nation’s looted wealth. In other words, these ‘subsidies’ should be recovered while the nation’s refineries are fixed so that the country can provide genuine subsidies that can make life livable in Nigeria.
[OPINION] How Buharocracy Put Nigeria In Throes (1) - Mike Ozekhome, SAN
NO TO HISTORICAL REVISIONISTS
I will not allow historical revisionists the opportunity to quickly rewrite Nigeria’s recent history - especially of former president Mohammadu Buhari’s dismal performance and misgovernance of Nigeria in the last 8 years. True, the fawners, bootlickers, toady flatterers and clappers, who benefited greatly from his warped tenure, are ever ready to applaud, clap and “rankadede” him forever. I am not one of them. I never was. Never will be. Or are you? Let me however thank President Buhari (as I had done severally before now), for decorating me with the prestigious National honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), the 4th highest honour in Nigeria. This adds to my 2009 National honour of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR). Buhari did this notwithstanding my strident criticism of his governance and leadership style throughout his 8 disastrous years of poor governance. He sure has tons of guts and strong balls to have taken my frequent disagreements with him in good faith. He earned my deep respect and admiration in this regard of large-heartedness. This is because not many in his huge shoes would have done so, given the same circumstances. However, whilst thanking the ex president, I will not be fair to history, the present and future generations yet unborn, if I do not give my earnest, but humble assessment of his 8 years misgovenance of Nigeria. It was simply squandering of riches. Missed opportunities! Missteps. False steps. This is where BUHAROCRACY comes in. he wobbled. He fumbled. He dawdled. He groggled. He literally crumbled. Buharocracy is the concept of government. But, let me background this writeup with my neologism.
I have since evolved OZEKPEDIA- my own neologism – my coinage of new words and phrases that appear not to exist before, but which I now throw up to achieve popular or institutional recognition and thus get accepted in the mainstream English language. It is in this regard I have since minted fresh words such as ELECTIONOCRACY (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/595657-nigerian-politicians-and-the-go-to-court-antics-by-mike-ozekhome.html); SELECTOCRACY (https://mikeozekhomeschambers.com/building-bridges-for-a-new-nigeria/); EXECUTOCRACY (https://independent.ng/building-bridges-for-a-new-nigeria/); LEGISLATOCRACY (https://barristerng.com/is-this-the-nigeria-of-our-dream-a-lecture-by-chief-mike-ozekhome-san-on-ambrose-alli-day/); and JUDOCRACY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg8ByKVWWj0).
I had also coined, with reference to former President Buhari not treating Nigeria as one unified “Federal Republic of Nigeria”, some aberrative terms employed and practised by Buhari in his peculiar style of governance. Buhari practised "Federal Republic of the North"; or "The Northern Republic of Nigeria"; or "Republic of Northern Nigeria”; or “Republic of Federal North”; or “Northern Nigeria Republic”; or “Republic of Northern Nigeria and other vassal states". (See http://mikeozekhomeschambers.com/nigerian-leaders-and-the-ephemerality-of-power/; The Cable, "It is illegal for Buhari to Solely Appoint IP, says Ozekhome, https://www.the cableng; 6/4/21). (https://www.capitalpost.ng/nba-fractionalisation-jibrin-okutepa-san-sorely-missed-the-point-Ozekhome/); (https://ourpeoplesfm1041.com.ng/2021/01/16/remove-that-fatwa-from-bishop-kukahs-head-by-mike-ozekhome-san/); https://www.latestnigeriannews.com/p/153190/remove-that-fatwa-from-bishop-kukahs-head-ozekhome.html).
I did not coin, but I have since used and popularised “Amala politics”; “Gbegiri politics”; “Come-and-chop politics”; and “Stomach infrastructure politics”, etc. But, I have also minted into our political lexicon, words such as “tuwo sinkafa politics” “politrician”, “militrician”, “civitrician”, and “politics of akpu”, “edikang ikon”, and “politics of omisaghue and amato”. In one of my outings as far back as May 11, 2015 (even before Buhari was sworn in for his first term), titled, “Era of Decampment: Politicians Without Principles” (see https://globalpatriotnews.com/opinion-era-of-decampment-politicians-without-principle/), I wrote as follows:
“The “come-and-chop” or “chop-I-chop” politics syndrome found its name into the Nigerian political lexicon long before Fayose. Long before now, we had colourful politicians like Busari Adelakun (Eruobodo) and Lamidi Adedibu, who popularised “amala” or “gbegiri” politics. Some call it “akpu”, “edikang ikon”, “tuwo sinkafa” politics. I call it “politics of “omhisaghue and amato” (don’t ask me what these mean in my Etsako, Weppa- Wanno language).
“This genre of politics is simply anchored on the cheap principle of sharing (never baking) the national cake amongst family members, old school mates, kinsmen, religious peers, business companions, political affiliates, etc. It is a euphemism for freely stealing from the national treasury and pillaging our commonwealth.
“It thrives on cronyism, tribalism, nepotism, undue favouritism, clannishness, religious bigotry, ethnic chauvinism and ethno-religious jingoism. It abhors merit. It detests brilliance. It enthrones mediocrity. As a principle, “come and chop” politics advocates that the strongest continuously pummels and subdues the strong into a comatose position of irreversibility, while the already weak ones are battered into oblivion and totally interred or entombed alive.
“The Nigerian politician (sorry, politrician) is at once a “Militrician” (Military top brass turned into politicians and “Civitrician” (civilians practising politics). The Nigerian Politician has corrupted politics and madly stripped it of its inherent nobility and integrity.
“Like common whores, they prostitute from one political party to another, never ashamed to return to an earlier party that he left with éclat and celebration to eat his vomit. Whether the party is PDP, APC, AD, APP, AC, ACN, CPC, ANPP, the Nigerian Politician gallivants about shamelessly, strutting from one party to the other. He lacks morality. He is allergic to political decorum or democratic nuances. He is a loose cannon. The same political class rotates offices amongst themselves. The same faces, but different offices. Once a local government chairman, he aspires to be member of a state House of Assembly; then House of Representatives; then Senate.
“Later, he leaves Senate to become a Governor; or from his gubernatorial seat to become a Senator. Over the years, it is the same dramatis personnel. No new entrants. No fresh ideas. Power is rotated from father to son, mother to daughter, brother to brother and kinsman to kinswoman. Little wonder that Nigeria has not grown. Even her purported development has been without actual and real development. She continues to suffer the fate of the barber’s chair of perpetual motion and rotation on its axis, but without progress. Her growth is stunted, for there is no manure or fertilizer to resuscitate the parched soil.”
On OZEKPEDIA, therefore, do not blame me or come after my jugular for daring to challenge Collins, Websters, Blacks and Oxford English Dictionaries. This was how Andrew Le Breton first conceptualized 28 Volumes of the Encyclopedia in French. It was later translated by Dennis Diderot, an 18th Century French Philosopher, Art Critic and writer, between 1751 and 1772. Indeed, it was actually an avid writer and admirer, who after following my writeups for a very long time, sent me the coinages – “OZEKPEDIA”, “OZEKMATICS” and “OZEKDICTIONARY”. He was referring to many of my writeups, including those on the requirement that the Nigerian President must compulsorily need to have 25% votes of FCT, Abuja; and my linguistics; syntax and prose style. I thank him immensely.
Thus, as at today, we have ENCYCLOPEDIA (1751-1772); SMITHSONIA (1846); WIKIPEDIA (2001); SCHOLARPEDIA (2006); LEGALPEDIA (2007); and EUROPEDIA (2008). Now, enters OZEKPEDIA (2023). So, help me God. Amen.
OZEKPEDIA AND BUHAROCRACY
Nigeria had her independence on October 1, 1960. She was however totally severed off the umbilical cord of imperialism in 1963 - when she became a Republic. Since then, the story of her leadership travails has become an unending tragedy; a cesspool and affront on the labours of our heroes past. The Nigerian polity became engulfed in the grip of series of military juntas under the thin guise of salvaging the decaying system. This went on until 1999, when a democratic government was ushered in. This year makes it 24 years of uninterrupted democracy. But it seems - like a man with a heavy load of web on his face – that Nigeria is still undergoing a vicious cycling and recycling of her leaders, de - die - in - diem.
In times of much uncertainty and untrammeled corruption bazaar, Nigeria was so unfortunate to have been governed by an apparently pretentious man who was almost deified and canonized. Buhari, like a man who never believes that once beaten, twice shy – ensured that Nigeria was beaten twice by the same man - Buhari. First as a military dictator. Later as a civilian ruler (not a democratic leader, in my humble estimation). I hope we are now awake from our self-imposed slumber and selective amnesia in this democracy.
NIGERIA IS FAR FROM PRACTISING DEMOCRACY
Strictu sensu, Nigeria, in my humble view, does not practise democracy. Rather, we practise other “cracies” (not democracy), which I have coined from my dictionary - Ozekpedia. These are Judocracy, Electionocracy, Executocracy, Selectocracy and Legislatocracy. (See https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=93SFQYIpkpU; https://www.page36news.com/2021/10/02/mike-ozekhome-says-we-are-not-practicing-democracy-in-nigeria-declares-that-what-we-have-under-president-muhammadu-buhari-others-is-election-ocracy-where-the-leaders-elect-themselves-into-office-o/amp/;
I have today, added another “cracy”, but this particular cracy is crazy – ‘Buharocracy.’ Buharocracy is a type of cracy, where government is 'abysmally ignoramus, zero-idealistic, and dictatorially at it's crescendo.' Little wonder, popular African singer, late Anikulapo-Kuti, in one of the ‘Abami Eda’s songs, “Beast of No Nation”, sang, “Na craze world be dat, craze world, No be outside Buhari dey, craze world, na craze man be dat, craze world.” (See https://punchng.com/fans-remember-felas-lyrics-on-democracy-day/). Fela warned us then, but Nigerians feigned deafness; maybe because they said he smoked weed. Nigerians forgot that to be fore-warned, is to be fore-armed. Former President of America, Barrack Obama, once admonished, “I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy, and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.”
Oh, see where our refusal and neglect to pay attention to history have landed us!. Leadership, to be sure, would also be accounted for in the last days of human existence. Taking solace from the Bible; “Blessed are you, o land, whose King is of nobility and whose instructions Princes eat at the appropriate time - for strength and not for drunkenness." An Islamic cleric, Ma’qil narrated, “I heard Rasulullah (SAW) saying: “Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim).
John G. Lake, once told us, “the man with a groan never moved the world except to more groans.” Buhari tried very hard to flourish himself like a saint in white apparel, when in fact, he was the chief repository of negative governance. Therefore, Stanley Baldwin was not wrong when he said, “Dictatorship is like a giant beech - tree - very magnificent to look at in it's prime, but nothing grows underneath.” Where have the 8 wasted years of the once feared “anti - corruption Czar” led us to today? I don't know. Or, do you?
The voyage of Nigeria since May 29, 2015, through May 29, 2023, (being the second and final coming of Buharocracy), amounted to a craze of all cracies.
There are many “cracies” corrupted from the word “Democracy”, as shown in Ozekpedia above. When Abraham Lincoln on 19th November, 1863, eulogized “Democracy” during his Gettysburg Declaration as “government of the people by the people and for the people”, he could never have imagined that subsequent world leaders would corrupt this beautiful term invented by the ancient Athenians of Greece in 507 BC, following a turbulent era of aristocracy and tyranny. “Demos” derived from Greek, meaning “people”, or “population”. “Crasy” means “rule”, “government”, “governing body”. So, democracy is government of the people.
BUHAROCRACY AND ITS EFFECT
Buharocracy is a form of government where the people expect so much, but get nothing; or at best, so little in return. It is a system of government in which the ruler, during campaigns and in his manifesto, promises so much; but brazenly discards and trashes all promises upon being voted in by the people. In Buharocracy, the ruler freely deceives the people. He is a maximum dictator, rules by precepts, rather than by examples. The concept allows the ruler to ride slipshod on his people; destroy institutions, enkindle divisions; and enthrone cyronynism, prebendalism, nepotism, favouritism, ethnicity, sectionalism, tribalism and religious bigotry.
Under Buharocracy, rule of law is literally suspended in place of so called National Security, a veneer for self interest or government interest. Under Buharocracy, the elected rules, rather than governs. He tells the people, “do what I say and not what I do”. Because the ruler suffers grave disconnect with the people, he feigns amnesia of their sufferings and despondency. He neither sympathises, nor empathises. He lives in a make-belief world; a world garnished with grandeur of illusion. The ruler is permitted to discard his hitherto pretentious Spartan-like life. He indulges in vain-glorious affluence, pomp, pageantry and razzmatazz. Kakaaki trumpets escort him to the airport when travelling, and also welcome him back from his frequent medical trips abroad. The maximum dictator under Buharocracy is deaf, dumb and numb to the feelings, yearnings and aspirations of his beleaguered and vanquished citizens rendered prostrate through misgovernance, high-handedness, corruption, insecurity and jack-bootism. He would rather build rail lines, refineries and industries in a neighbouring country like Niger, wherein he has his own firm roots of origin, to the detriment of his own country – Nigeria – that elected him into office. Restructuring and true federalism are an anathema to Buharocracy. That is Buharocracy for you. And more ...
[PRESS RELEASE] Telecom Sector Contributes N2.508 Trillion to Nigeria’s GDP
Telecom Sector Contributes N2.508 Trillion to Nigeria’s GDP
The telecommunications and Information Services sector in Nigeria has, in the first quarter 2023, delivered a handsome N2.508 trillion in terms of financial value contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), representing 14.13 per cent.
Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the sector recorded a 4.3 per cent. increase from its performance in the last quarter of 2022 when it recorded 13.55 per cent.
When compared on a year-on-year basis, the growth showed positive progression from 12.94 per cent. in the first quarter of 2022 , to the 2023 figure of 14.13, which is an approximate growth by 9.19 per cent. .
The percentage of telecom contribution to GDP was calculated from 46 distinct sectors of the economy, which constitute telecom and information services baskets.
The Nigerian telecom industry has continued its show of positive outlook, which is credited to the innovative and predictable telecom regulatory environment promoted, and implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
One of the key highlights of the telecom industry performance within the period was the generation of $820.8 Million for the federal government from 5G spectrum licences fees paid by three eventual winning operators, MTN, MAFAB and Airtel.
Following the issuance of the licences in December 2021 to MTN and MAFAB, both companies have launched 5G services. Airtel, which received its licence in December 2022, is set to launch services this month, June 2023.
Another major development in the sector was the launch of Starlinks broadband services, a satellite-based wireless broadband services with potential nationwide coverage. This followed the issuance of licence to Elon Musk-owned SpaceX by the Commission. The services are now available in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the growth statistics of the telecom industry are showing an impressive record of contributions to the economy. The number of phone subscribers as at April 2023, stood at 223.6 million subscribers, scoring a teledensity of 117 per cent. . Internet subscribers for the same period were 157 million while Broadband subscriptions stood at 92 Million, translating to 48 per cent. broadband penetration in the country.
Director, Public Affairs
Mbah meets Tinubu for release of Nnamdi Kanu
The governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, Thursday, met behind closed-doors with President Bola Tinubu for the release of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Mbah said he pleaded with the President for Kanu’s release as part of the national healing process, which he said Tinubu has already begun.
The governor expressed the hope that President Tinubu would give a favorable consideration to the request for the self-acclaimed leader of IPOB leader to regain his freedom.
The Enugu governor disclosed that he also appealed for the assistance of the federal government to explore the abundant mineral resources in Enugu State for the benefit of the people.