OTHERS' VIEWS

OTHERS' VIEWS

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I am humbled and momentously surprised to have been bestowed the honour of delivering this speech at this august gathering. It is not an honour I take very lightly.

The topic I have been assigned to discuss is “the Seven Habits of a Successful Lawyer”. A topic which in itself presupposes that the person chosen to deliver it, is a successful lawyer! It is however my humble opinion that there are in this venerable body, in this esteemed company, many eminent lawyers and jurists who are much more qualified than my humble self, Kayode Ajulo, to mount this rostrum to do justice to this topic.

 

I am more than humbled by this honour and in accepting it, I stand upon the great and noble shoulders of those eminent men and I can only hope that by the time we are done, those solid and powerful shoulders upon which I stand would not have carried me in vain.

 

Let me quickly recognise those great and successful giants of our trade that the Akure Bar has been blessed with; Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, Olagoke Fakunle, SAN, Niyi Adegbonmire, SAN, Dr. Olatunji Abayomi, I.O.A Olorunfemi, Banjo Aiyenakin, and many others whose indulgence I crave to proceed.

Again, since the leadership of the Akure Bar has insisted that I present this speech, I crave the indulgence of all who is present to only listen to the message and discountenance any perceived inadequacies of the messenger.

As a lawyer, whenever one is privileged to deliver a speech, it is expected that one would speak from the position of knowledge and authority. And how does a lawyer get this knowledge and authority? It is usually from books. For example, if one is going to talk about Evidence, it is expected that one should read the Evidence Act, legislations, court decisions and books from great jurists who have espoused knowledge in the  course over the years.

 

However, because of the peculiarity of this topic there would be no need to research on any statute or laws as all that needs be said must be from one’s experience gathered over the course of one’s practice as well as the examples laid by legal giants over the years. (Now you would understand my insistence that my noble seniors are much more qualified than myself!)

For the above reason, our authority therefore would be to a larger extent the styles and practice of the illustrious names I have earlier mentioned and many others. To fully and adequately deal with this topic therefore, it would make sense and would probably be downright unforgivable if one fails to mention the heroes past of this noble profession of ours; titans who achieved great success like FRA Williams, SAN, Richard Akinjide, SAN, G.O.K Ajayi, SAN, Ibrahim Abdulahi, SAN, Philip Umeadi, SAN, Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, Ajibola Ige, SAN, Bankole Aluko, SAN, Chike Chigbue, SAN, Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, Miskom Pueppet and a host of others, all of blessed memory.

 

Likewise, there are heroes present like Folake Sholanke, SAN, Afe Babalola, SAN, Ebun Sofunde, SAN, Gboyega Awomolo, SAN, Ebun Shofunde, SAN, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, J. B. Daudu, SAN, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, Kanu Agabi, SAN, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, J. K. Gadzama, SAN, E. C. Ukala, SAN, Yunus Ustaz Usman, SAN, Adetokunbo Kayode, SAN, Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, D. D. Dodo, SAN, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Wale Babalakin, SAN, Emeka Ngige, SAN, K. T. Turaki, SAN, Chris Uche, SAN, Ajibola Aribisala, SAN, P. N. Ikwueto, SAN, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, SAM Ologunorisa, SAN, J. S. Okutepa, SAN, Dayo Akinlaja, SAN, Prof Akinseye-George, SAN, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, Femi Falana, SAN, Olumuyiwa Akinboro, SAN, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Dr. Olatunji Abayomi etc. These eminent personalities are those whose lifestyles and work ethics one should study if one is to become an effective lawyer.

 

Without sounding immodest, I must give myself a pass mark because of all these great names I have reeled out; I have made it a point to have good relationships with many of them either directly or indirectly. Some of them are my direct mentors, while some are indirect mentors because even from a distance at times, I have taken pains to watch and learn from them. I am also fortunate to have started my practice at the Federal Ministry of Justice which indisputably is the largest law office in the whole of Africa whereat I was quite lucky to have interacted with the best lawyers, which has aided my training in the profession.

My brief is to interrogate the station of a lawyer, and with respect, not just any lawyer but a successful lawyer and the habits that characterize the life of such a lawyer, The Cambridge Dictionary defines “habits” as something that one does often and regularly, sometimes, something done so routinely that it even borders on the unconscious.

 

Let me state at this juncture that the legal profession is one of the most prestigious professions in the world and although in the strict sense of the word, practicing Law encapsulates more than just litigation, as it expands to cover areas such as Corporate & Commercial, Oil & Gas, Investment & Finance, Real Estates and the likes. However for the purpose of this presentation, the focal point must be in tandem with the general circumstance of Akure Bar, the legal practice that involves litigation and Court proceedings.

With your kind permission, I would like to rephrase our topic of discussion and say that we should not be talking about being a successful lawyer, but rather an effective lawyer because an effective lawyer will, in due course, be a successful one.

Success is quite relative. And success is not a destination; it is a journey, a process. What one lawyer considers as success might be radically different from what another considers as success. For example, the idea of success to Eyitayo Jegede, SAN might be when he becomes Governor of Ondo State, while to another lawyer, it might be attaining the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

It is therefore best to talk about an effective lawyer, because effectiveness will keep you focused on characters required for utmost and quality productivity. And, to be effective is to be successful in producing a desired or intended result.

Becoming an effective lawyer in the profession may be quite an uphill task. It takes only a person who knows the secrets, qualities and skills required of a lawyer to become effective. The skills a lawyer needs for an ideal career are things he must be deliberate and intentional in working upon and diligently develop over time. As they say, practice makes perfect, and dedication makes dreams come true.

In my limited and humble experience, below are seven highly recommended habits a lawyer must possess if he aspires to be an effective attorney. I have however not listed them in any particular order of importance, as they are all important for an effective legal career.

GOOD COMMUNICATION;
Theo Gold, an author said “Communication is your ticket to success if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.” He further added that, “communication is one of the major keys to success. When one is able to communicate their position, their plan or their ideas effectively, one is able to achieve much more.”

I am sure we have all heard the popular saying that “language is the major tool of a lawyer”. There is no gainsaying that an ability to communicate clearly and unambiguously is a must-have skill for every lawyer. And this vital skill can be developed by engaging in public speaking.

A renowned Human Rights Activist and learned Silk is an example of a great orator with the ability to argue convincingly in the courtroom, even when he has a seemingly bad case. Frankly speaking, the way you communicate as a lawyer will go a long way to tell what you are capable of doing.

Additionally, in this era of front loading processes, lawyers must also be able to write clearly, persuasively and concisely, as they must produce a variety of legal arguments backed by legal documents. To be able to analyse what clients tell them or follow a complex testimony, a lawyer must possess good listening skills.

A lawyer will also have to convey important ideas in a variety of environments and settings, such as: private conversations, informal emails, phone calls, conference meetings, etc. This makes communication skill one of the most important habits a lawyer must cultivate if he really desires to get to the top of the legal profession.

Therefore, whatever means you have chosen to communicate, as a lawyer who wants to be successful, you must do it effectively.

DILIGENCE AND PERSEVERANCE;
“Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.” “He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.”

Therefore, another non-negotiable quality of an effective lawyer is diligence. Diligence is the combination of hard work and consistency. To become an effective lawyer, you must not lack this quality because it takes time for a young lawyer to be noticed. An Indian Judge said that “the success of a lawyer depends upon himself”. And, just as Walter Elliot put it, and as similar to success “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Even studying to become a lawyer takes a great deal of perseverance and commitment – and that’s before you even start work.

When working on a case, you must be diligent and have the perseverance to complete a quality work, necessary to drive the case to a successful finish. Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, comes to mind when talking about a diligent lawyer who spends enough time on a legal problem until he finds a convincing solution.

This is not a profession for lazy people who wants to win without putting in the required works. Even the Good Book says “Seeth thou a man diligent in his ways,  he shall dine with kings and not mean men”! What more can one add?

ANALYTICAL THINKING
Allow me to read this words of an educator, Neil Postman, to you on analytical thinking. He was, though, taking to readers but this cannot be truer for lawyers because it is what an effective lawyer should be.

“To engage the written word means to follow a line of thought, which requires considerable powers of classifying, inference-making and reasoning. It means to uncover lies, confusions, and overgeneralizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalization to another. To accomplish this, one must achieve a certain distance from the words themselves, which is, in fact, encouraged by the isolated and impersonal text. That is why a good reader does not cheer an apt sentence or pause to applaud even an inspired paragraph. Analytic thought is too busy for that, and too detached.”

This is simply to tell you that an effective lawyer cannot be lazy with his mind because the fate of many individuals (life and death, win or loss) depends on his thoughts. To win as a lawyer, your analytical skills must be top notch.

Reading large amounts of information, absorbing facts and figures, analysing material and distilling it into something manageable is a feature of an effective law career. Being able to identify what is relevant out of a mass of information and explain it clearly and concisely is vital.

At times, there will be more than one reasonable conclusion or more than one precedent applicable to resolving a situation. An effective lawyer must therefore have the evaluative skills in order to choose which is the most suitable. This skill can be honed by taking large documents or long news articles and making bullet points of the most important themes.

CLEAR SENSE OF JUDGEMENT;
To become a successful lawyer, the habit of drawing reasonable, logical conclusions or assumptions from limited information is essential. You must also be able to consider these judgments critically, so that you can anticipate potential areas of weakness in your argument that must be fortified against.

Similarly, you must be able to spot points of weakness in an opposition’s argument. Decisiveness is also a part of judgment. There will be a lot of important judgment calls to make and little time for sitting on the fence.

This is the point where the emphasis on the analytical skills comes in. It is where your must be able to combine clear, undiluted and and deep instinct with relevant knowledge and experience to form opinions and make convincing decisions. You must be able to deploy this at an unconscious level to produce an insight or recognize a pattern that others overlook.

And let me state that what can guide you here is the value you are set to give and the goal you are set to achieve. Once you keep these two in mind, your sense of reasonable judgement will come to life.

RESEARCH ;
Two things that I love most about research are captured in the followings quotes.
“Research is formalized curiosity, it is poking and prying with a purpose.”  says Zora Neale Hurston.
And according to Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, “Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.”

Diligent and efficient researches also play a huge role in a lawyer’s day-to-day job. This gives an inkling to whatever situation a lawyer finds himself and also helps to activate other necessary requirements to deploy when faced with a situation. Research is unavoidably important especially when doing the background work on a case, drafting legal documents and advising clients on complicated issues.

In the same vein, being able to research quickly and effectively is essential to understanding your clients, their needs, and to preparing legal strategies. In fact, what differentiates a good lawyer from a bad lawyer is the level of research they put into their work.

PRO-PEOPLE;
I don’t know if this truth is popular or not, but I know it for a fact, through diligent studying, careful observation and detailed experience that you can’t go it alone if you want to establish a fruitful and fulfilling career as a lawyer.

Instead, staying connected to a robust network of your peers and definitely your seniors will help you have an edge in the field. Your network can give you advice, direct you to helpful resources, and even help you land new clients.

Almost anyone you meet can be a possible connection. From your law school classmates to your former clients, every professional you interact with can potentially provide insights, resources, and opportunities that could make a substantial difference in your career.

Law is not an abstract practice. Irrelevant of how well someone does academically, at the end of the day lawyers work with people, on behalf of people, and the decisions that are made affect people’s lives. They must be personable, persuasive and able to read others. In doing this, a lawyer in this present time must be conversant with the use of technology, particularly the social media as an effective tool for great networking.

CREATIVITY;
In one of my researches on the importance of being a creative lawyer, I read this statement and I found it appropriate to introduce this last habit I want to share.

“Law isn’t always seen through a creative lens, especially when compared to more artistic sectors. It’s often perceived as rigid, academic, and perhaps a little dry. Law may be built on precedent, but the profession is ripe for change and is ready for an injection of all-important creativity.”

Sincerely, many people may think that the legal profession provides little outlet for an individual’s creative talent but this isn’t the case. No matter what aspect of the legal profession you choose, you will frequently have to think outside the box to get the job done.

The very top lawyers are not only logical and analytical, but they display a great deal of creativity in  problem-solving. The best solution is not always the most obvious and in order to outmanoeuvre your challenger. It is often necessary to think outside the box.

In actual fact, creativity is highly sought after by clients, even if it remains somewhat unacknowledged by most within this legal profession.

Who is then being creative if not a lawyer, who can read a sentence and interpret it in many parts to give various logically convincing conclusions?

Effective lawyers understand the importance of flexibility and creativity. Innovation is vital when developing effective solutions, but it also allows you to serve your clients better by discovering cost-effective and efficient processes.

CONCLUSION;
The great scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, said that “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Again, I implore any one that aspires to be an effective lawyer to study the lives of great lawyers not only in Akure Bar, but across the country. Listen to them. Read their books. And when the knowledge gleaned from studying their lives is combined with the seven habits enumerated above, such lawyer is on his way to becoming an effective lawyer.

Above all of these abovementioned habits, there is a G-Factor that I have observed working for every effective lawyer, even for these great ones I mentioned in this lecture.

Irrespective of your religion or belief, there should be an acknowledgement of a supreme being that has your back because there are many who have mastered the above stated habits as part of their daily living for decades but still struggle to call themselves successful.

Though, there is public acknowledgment of this notion in Islam, Christiandom and African Traditional Beliefs, I can bet that it does get to a point that even an atheist, in the corner of his heart, strongly desires to experience the guidance of a dimension that is higher than what he knows when his personal ability fails. That is nothing but a humble acknowledgement of a higher level-The God factor.

This I recommend highly to you as you sing the popular Yoruba gospel song to the Supreme One with me. He is the X-factor of my existence, my G-factor of whom I can say that if you walk with Him in faith, the world will hear the best of you:

“Gbemi Soke, gbemi dide
Fami lọwọ soke, ki n ga jù ayé lọ
Ògo ayé mi, jẹ kó yọ jáde
Fami lọwọ soke,
má ma jẹ kó pẹ”

It was always obvious to keen, disinterested observers that Bola Tinubu’s gamble in helping Buhari to ascend to power won’t pay off in the end; that his opportunistic political love affair with Buhari won’t be requited; and that the brittle, delicately thin thread that held their relational dynamic would snap sooner or later. I wrote countless columns on this.

Tinubu won the nomination of the APC not because of Buhari and the cabal of provincial power brokers that prop him but in spite of them. Tinubu was compelled to ventilate his famously impassioned “emi lo kan” outburst in Abeokuta (in the Yoruba language, no less) when it became nakedly apparent that Buhari and his cabal had perfected plans to edge him out of the APC presidential primary contest.

 People who know Tinubu from his inchoate age in Iragbiji tell me that he is a dogged, rugged, never-say-die fighter who would rather die fighting than give up a fight. His contemporaries dreaded fights with him not because he was strong but because his fights were often brutal and never-ending until he won. Even when he was bloodied and beaten to a pulp, he would get up and continue the fight if not immediately then later.

The story I heard of Tinubu’s childhood in Iragbiji reminded me of someone I grew up with in my hometown whom we nicknamed Mohammed Shaytan. Mohammed was his given name, but his bizarre emotional investment in endlessly ferocious fights with anyone until he won earned him the name Shaytan, the Arabic word for Satan. We used to allow him to “defeat” us so we would have peace. Perpetual personal strife, which he thrived in, wasn’t physically, mentally, and emotionally sustainable for a lot of us.

 

When the cabal was plotting to exclude Tinubu from the APC presidential contest, I had an informal chit-chat with a higher-up who had some associational affinities with the cabal. I told him that based on what I’d learned about Tinubu’s childhood and teenage years (some of which I can’t disclose publicly) and which seem to have endured into his adulthood, he would rather be dead than give up the APC nomination.

After the “emi lo kan” blow-up, which shook Buhari and his inner circle to their roots, my older acquaintance called to tell me I was right. The speech—and, of course, the support of APC’s northern governors, and his deep pockets— caused him to win the battle, but he is now in danger of losing the war, if he hasn’t already lost it. Here’s why.

Tinubu’s fervent, arrogant, and vaguely vituperative speech in Abeokuta at once unnerved, humiliated, and alienated Buhari and his inner circle in ways they had never been since 2015. Buhari never forgives, but he is also diffident, hates direct confrontation, and evades taking responsibility. That’s why he is such an ineffective but dangerous leader. 

All indications clearly point to the fact that Buhari is still nursing the hurt of his well-justified humiliation by Tinubu. His inner loop of advisers is also waiting in the wings to exact revenge against Tinubu, which is frankly inexplicably self-indulgent, even hypocritical, because they would not have supported Tinubu even if he didn’t humiliate them on national television, even if he praised them to high heaven from now till kingdom come. Well, they seem to be now out for Tinubu in full force.

This signal first emerged in the open when Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura, a former minister in Obasanjo’s administration who is very close to Buhari, Mamman Daura and members of the cabal, gave a sermon in his mosque in Kaduna where he importuned northerners to support their own. It’s entirely possible that this opinion is his alone.

Nonetheless, as many people have observed, Buhari has so far studiously refrained from asking voters to vote for Tinubu. He raises Tinubu’s hands on the campaign trail, but it’s as a mere ritual political gesture that he is required to perform. He also raises the hands of other APC candidates. But he has so far not directly solicited votes for Tinubu. 

In a November 10, 2022, interview with Premium Times on the so-called currency redesign, which has gone viral in the last few days, Buhari justified the currency redesign by gratuitously invoking the specter of unscrupulous moneybags who use thugs to win elections, which many people, including Tinubu’s people, understood as an indirect attack on Tinubu.

 

 “Nigerians should vote for whoever they like from whichever party. Nobody will be allowed to mobilize resources and thugs to intimidate people in any constituency,” Buhari said in what seems like a sneaky barb at Tinubu who infamously uses money and thugs to win elections, including elections that Buhari has benefited from. “This is what I want to go down into Nigerian history for.”

Of course, when Premium Times’ reporter pushed him to speak on his support for Tinubu, he uttered platitudinous, half-hearted, mealy-mouthed praises of Tinubu and Lagos and said, “the party was lucky to get [Tinubu to] accept to be its candidate.” We all know it wasn’t the party that got Tinubu to accept to be its candidate; it was Tinubu who fought tooth and nail against the machinations of Buhari and his cabal to become the party’s candidate.

 

In the aftermath of the renewed attention to and intra-party criticisms of Buhari’s failure to publicly urge his supporters to vote for Tinubu, Buhari’s associates organized a charade in Bauchi. During the APC presidential campaign in Bauchi, Buhari was asked to speak in support of Tinubu. Then, suddenly, the microphone mysteriously developed a malfunction—or there was a power cut—and Buhari left the venue of the campaign in a faux huff. It seemed all carefully choreographed. 

Being the aggressively wily and perceptive political fox that Tinubu is, he has sensed all the Machiavellian political mischief that’s afoot. And he has had enough. So, he threw another pugilistic rhetorical blow at Buhari and his cabal in Abeokuta—and in the Yoruba language. When he is drowning and is fighting for his political life, Tinubu cries in Yoruba. English has no capacity to carry the full weight of his fury.

Unfortunately for Tinubu, his avoidably self-inflicted reputational injury in the Muslim North by his inability to recite the first chapter of the Qur’an is eroding his support. Salafi clerics in the Hausaphone Muslim North who used to preach that a vote for the Tinubu-Shettima Muslim-Muslim ticket was a jihad in the service of Islam have gone quiet. They can’t justify calling someone who can’t recite the fatiha a Muslim. In fact, the clerics have become objects of ridicule now.

This was completely preventable political self-harm. All he needed to do was continue being seen praying in mosques and going to Mecca for hajj. No one ever asks Muslims, not least wealthy ones like Tinubu, to justify their claims to their faith by reciting verses of the Qur’an. Most northern Muslim elites, including Buhari, know next to nothing about their religion. But it’s sufficient that they are seen in public performing the rituals of the religion.

Tinubu would have benefitted from having northern Muslims in his inner circle. They would have advised him against attempting to recite the fatiha that he has obviously lost because he doesn’t use.

The only silver lining in the cloud of political troubles for Tinubu in the Muslim North, which he needs to have a fighting chance, is that almost all APC governors in the region are solidly behind him for two reasons. The first is the embarrassment of betraying him after he stood with them in the 2015 and 2019 elections. Nasir El-Rufai is the arrowhead of this sentiment. He thinks it would be a treachery for the history books should the entire Muslim North forsake Tinubu. 

The second reason is more selfish. Should Atiku Abubakar win the election, the dreams of another northern Muslim from the northern governors’ ranks becoming a president would be perpetually deferred. Even though Atiku has said he would do only one term, it would be almost impossible for another Muslim to succeed him after four years.

It remains to be seen if the support of the governors can reverse Tinubu’s lost ground in the Muslim North. But the fight is on, and it’s just getting started!

Tinubu pays, most people will tell you. I do not know whether, and to what extent, this is true; but it is a popularly held view. “We shall walk out of this electoral engagement with something substantial”, has been attributed to some of his supporters. In sum, it would seem that there is a larger population of carpet baggers and hunting dogs around the man, than convinced disciples.

 

An Igbo prover says that a man who has a house full of “friends” whose loyalty rests on the largeness of his purse and the venison on his dining table has no friends at all. Such a man will find out, sooner or later, that he is alone on the day of sacrifice when people are asked to make all manner of personal denials for him. No one will stake his life for him, because all his friends would like to live and enjoy their plunder.

A look at most of the campaign video clips of Asiwaju raises a fundamental question of propriety, patriotism, and dignity in adulthood for most of his backers. “How and why would anyone bring out this man, have the courage to stand behind him as a supporter in public, and then boldly assert that this is the best that the ruling APC can find for Nigeria, after eight years of unmitigated leadership incompetence? From the party’s performance on all fronts, it ought to simply apologize to Nigerians, withdraw from the elections and announce that it would go on a 24 months retreat; to learn about leadership.

 

But not only is the party contesting, it is fielding probably the worst in its park of elders. Possibly in response to overwhelming inducement, those who matter in the party lost the capacity for good judgment. Fielding a visibly competent person may have at least been an attempt to hoodwink inattentive observers into locating the APC’s existing proof of failure on an individual. But the party did not think in that direction, at all.

Which is, perhaps, why a video clip that is making the rounds has become the subject of more than passing attention. The clip in question is unusually clear. The image, and facial expressions, of President Buhari as he spoke was also clearer than usual. The man was, somewhat unlike him in his less coherent moments, quite articulate and forthright; as he declared that he would ensure free, fair and transparent elections. He said that that is the legacy he would like to leave, as he leaves for Daura, Katsina State in a few months’ time.

Add the foregoing to the growing suspicion, and perhaps realization, that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is being touted to have “tied its hands”, such that it cannot influence election outcomes because of the BVAS it procured, and is determined to use. Add, also, the general impression that there is a direct linkage between the drama surrounding the new Naira notes and the elections. This would lead us to the conclusion that individuals and groups planning, and hoping, to deploy unvarnished cash to influence the elections may find themselves upstaged. What then will Asiwaju Boal Tinubu, whom many believe is planning to “pay all payables” in order to emerge president.

 

The man’s political machinery seems to be densely supported by individuals and groups who are largely driven by the “cash value’” of their loyalty to their pockets and their inverted patriotism as Nigerians. And that brings us back to the personal, aspirational and existential crisis facing a Bola Tinubu in Nigeria today.

He was the architect of the convoluted processes that birthed the ruling party and the Buhari Presidency. So, he brought out the masquerade that has been dealing with him for eight years now. Do you recall “the article “Tinubu and His Egungun”, Which appeared on this page on August 30, 2016? Perhaps not.

Part of the article in question said: “Most of those who birthed the current Presidency are now confounded. The once most enthusiastic among them are quivering in the limited space allowed him by the very talisman they procured and celebrated. Their circumstance is proof that a politician may get into trouble more because of his own errors of judgment than from the evil machinations of his enemies and competitors. The lessons of the hour for the Lion of Bourdilon, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the APC`s hastily contrived coalition, are legion. These loyalists are all standing in public with bruises inflicted on them by their own, or their family`s Egungun or masquerade”.

The article went further, thus: “The very Opambata, or cane, with which they are being flogged was crafted by them. And this avoidable misfortune is all traceable to their inebriated and hasty grab at power, without close attention to some essential ingredients of political discretion. Look around you and you will see the truth of the saying that politicians can be likened to the spotted hyena, of which it is said: “Of all mammals, they are the most self-centred and most inconsiderate. They are also the most brutal to their kind”.

Not to run the risk of seeming well versed in the Yoruba pantheon, especially with a name like Okey Okechukwu, the article went on: “As explained to me by some Yoruba friends who are versed in some aspects of the Yoruba cultural traditions, an Egun (singular for Egungun) is always someone`s Egun. But `Egungun` in its more specific, common-sense usage, refers to masquerades connected with the ancestors as a collective force for communal unity, moral probity and economic betterment. (This makes the president our National Egungun). But even when the word is used in the broadest sense, wherein “Egungun” refers to all types of masquerades, or masked and costumed figures, (like Speaker, Chief Whip, Majority Leader, Committee Chair, Senate President, etc.), it is still dressed and `brought out` by its `owners”.

 

Do you see what I mean? Again, for the masquerade to come out, “An act of invocation (known as “Alapi”) must be performed by the Chief priest, ushering the Egungun, before the worshippers dance, drum and are possessed by the ancestral Egungun, or spirit. It was Tinubu who performed this ceremony, as Chief Priest of the APC. But contrary to the norm in the Egungun cult and Festival, wherein the Chief Priest and family members are not `flogged out of the way` by the Egungun, Chief Bola Tinubu and his co-travellers were soon in the line of fire. The spirit they summoned turned out not to be the one they intended, or expected”.

Consider this, for instance, as observed in the article: “Tinubu, as Chief Priest, had barely finished the “political Alapi rituals” before the Egugun came for his throat, intent on summarily asphyxiating him. He barely extricated himself and is still clearing his throat, after that unfriendly grip. Smaller masquerades, like Saraki, are still scampering for cover. The masqueraders have thus become victims of the distemper of the very masquerade they dressed up and brought to the village square. Their political calculations before the elections, including their fallback positions and their third level machinations, collapsed. The masquerade had shredded its leash”.

What has been clear since the commencement of the Buhari government is that: “No talisman can also prevent a man from carrying out harmful designs that his enemies would have loved, but which he personally inflicts on himself; out of folly, or in a temporary attack of un-wisdom. Your security man cannot prevent you from quietly killing yourself in your bedroom, behind doors you locked with your own hands. Thus, the talismanic code of service avoids presumptive interference with the free volition of its owner in matters of self-destruction; lest it be accused of exogamous talismanic insurrection”.

Seeking continuous validation in metaphors and proverbs, the article under reference here went on: “An Igbo proverb says that the person who goes to a heap of birds and brings home a vulture will be scandalized by the fact that his greed made him focus on the presumed quantity of meat, instead of the species of bird he was carrying home as booty. That is the issue for many of APC`s erstwhile promoters and supporters today. President Buhari, in all his phlegmatic, somnambulistic and incompetent wobble, shall be an essential instrument for a national winnowing and cleansing that is long overdue. Not because he designed it, or because it is a planned engagement, but because his bungling will make a conflagration inevitable”.

 

Look at Tinubu today. “Even the rainmakers shall fall victim to the elements; because they did not know the full implications of the incantations they were mumbling. They cannot even take full flight! They locked the gates before the incantations began. They arranged a funeral, while dressed for a banquette, such that. Baffled, besmirched, excoriated and roundly diminished by their masquerade`s aberrant and atavistic totality, they crouch; hobbled, as they huddle””.

And, finally, “Aquiver in little corners, they are now muttering “Olori buruku, ma ba temi je o! Enough said, as the dénouement of this drama is unfolding precipitously.

Kudos to Segun Adeniyi, Dave Umahi

An unlikely pair, right? I agree. One is my friend, the other is not. But both gentlemen did something commendable in two unrelated fields recently.

The back page of Thisday newspaper of January 12, under the caption, “How Far Can Peter Obi Go”, was a demonstration of courage, genuine patriotism, goodwill towards a friend and a deep sense of responsibility to tell the truth. He drew attention to possible potholes hon the road his friend was travelling. Let those who want lessons on objective commentary go take a read.

Umahi, on his part wiped the subsisting shame of Igbo cultural bigwigs, intelligentsia and political elite when, the other week, he and his people wore the correct “Isi Agu (Leopard head) outfit to a rally. Igbo leadership, including Ohaneze chieftains, received Buhari in Owerri dressed in the wrong outfit of “Isi Odum” (Lion Head), which over 90% of the Igbo population actually assume is Isi Agu. Enough said about Isi Agu – a scandal at Igbo cultural events today.

OVER the course of 400 years, 15 million men, women, and children were transported across the Atlantic as slaves, but the statistics for human trafficking, particularly the sex trade, are far worse. 

 

Conservatively, 800,000 people are trafficked annually, with 80 per cent being women and half of these being minors. The global sex trade itself is worth $32 billion annually. The issue of what can be done to end human trafficking, in which 25 million people are trapped, was the theme of an international meeting on January 17, 2023 in Abuja.

Argentine Ambassador Alejandro Herrero, who set the tone, said human trafficking is one of the most horrible violations of human rights and has to be combated. The United States, according to US Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, is a global scourge, a brutal and inhuman trade that violates human rights and robs people of their dignity.

 The US says it is facing serious human trafficking challenges. Its Office of Justice Programmes, OJP in 2021, budgeted almost $87 million to combat it, provide support services to victims, and conduct research into the nature and causes of labour and sex trafficking. Ambassador Leonard said victims of trafficking must be assisted. She added that awareness of the signs of trafficking can help detect and prevent the act.

 

She pointed out that there are laws against trafficking, but the problem is their implementation. “The United States is committed to fighting it because trafficking destabilises societies, undermines economies, harms workers, enriches those who exploit them, undercuts legitimate business and most fundamentally, because it is so profoundly wrong,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the presentation of the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report in Washington, DC.  

Spanish Ambassador Juan Sell said fighting against human trafficking entails sending a message of hope to its victims and one of determination to bring the perpetuators to justice. He advised people to beware of offers that seem irresistible, adding that human trafficking and sex enslavement are real. His country, he said, is on the receiving end of the trafficking. 

On November 29, 2022, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a draft “Anti-Trafficking” law against ‘sexual exploitation, forced and arranged marriages, slavery, forced labour, organ and tissue removal, and situations where vulnerable people are forced to engage in criminal activity’. Its Justice Minister, Pilar Llop, said that the law will protect “people who suffer a lot in our country and also in other countries around the world” and “break the business chain that is generated using human beings as commodities”. Under this law, customers of forced sexual workers face fines and prison sentences of six months to four years.

The French Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, Olivier Chatelais, regretted that, annually, hundreds of Nigerian women are trafficked directly to France. He added that a way out is to organise a worldwide solidarity alliance to fight international crime. France, is a  party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. In  November 2021, it announced a budget of $15.87 million to fight trafficking. It says it fights against human trafficking through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC.

European Union Representative, Reuben Alba Aguilera, noted that Nigeria is richly endowed with human and natural resources, so there is a need to help the authorities check migration flows. Part of the EU’s announced strategy is to disrupt the online and offline businesses of traffickers by working with tech firms to reduce access to platforms. It also engages in protecting and empowering victims.

Sweden was represented by its Ambassador, Annikka Hahn-Englund. The country will spend $1.44 million to combat human trafficking in 2021. Beneficiaries include the National Support Programme, a civil society platform representing 20 non-governmental organisations. Its 2002 anti-trafficking law prescribes two to three years of imprisonment for those involved in sexual exploitation and forced labour.

Others on the platform of the meeting included Jarai Sabally of The Sisterhood is Global Institute, Taina Bien-Aime of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Jonathan Machler of the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution, Esohe Aghatise of Iroko and Mickey Meji of the Survivor Empowerment and Support Programme.

The survivor, originally known as  Nomonde Mihlali Meji, is a South African who campaigns for the rights of trafficked and prostituted women. Her engaging story began when she got pregnant at 16, dropped out of school, got into prostitution, crawled out, and became a fighter to get as many women as possible out of prostitution and rehabilitate them.

She had been assisted out of prostitution by an organisation called Sex Workers Education Advocacy Task Force, or SWEAT, and decided that one of the main things to do is to get the term “sex work” abolished and get the sex industry recognised as exploitative and oppressive. When the ruling African National Congress, ANC, at its 54th Congress in 2017 passed a resolution to fully decriminalise prostitution and recognise it as “work”,  Meji fired a protest letter saying prostitution was not employment: “Women in prostitution do not wake up one day and “choose” to be prostitutes.

Prostitution is chosen for them by our colonial past and apartheid, persistent inequalities, poverty, past sexual and physical abuse, the pimps who take advantage of our vulnerabilities, and the men who buy us as prostitutes. Most women are drawn into prostitution at a young age, some as young as 13 years old. Women and girls in prostitution have almost no resources to help them exit the sex trade.

 

Some of the panellists at the Abuja meeting argued that the basis of sexual exploitation is a culture that sees women as commodities, disposable objects that can be bought and sold. They argued that prostitution is not a female problem but mainly that of the buyer who pays for the human body. 

They pointed out that almost all the victims of prostitution and sex trafficking are from marginalised communities. The solution they posited, is to provide the victims with shelter, support and an exit programme while the perpetrators, pimps and customers are penalised. 

They argued that unless there was a focus on cutting off demand, humanity would be bogged down with the problem for another thousand years because once there is demand, there will be supply. They pointed out that sex trafficking is not necessarily from one country to another, but that it can be from one room to another. On how to meet the cost of fighting the scourge, they suggested that money can be taken from the traffickers, pimps and sex buyers.

 The highlight of the meeting was the screening of the 2019 film ‘Oloture’ which is based on sex trafficking.

I have noticed that each time a new management assumes duty at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), torrents of smear campaign, fabricated stories and fake allegations would be unleashed against the interventionist agency in the social media. In February 2022, a similar series of articles were written against the former management and, as a stakeholder, I had to do some rebuttals against the publications. Just this week, another fake and an obviously fabricated news item, headlined ‘’NDDC Chairperson aborts N25 billion payment as FG sets to domicile the Commission at SGF Office’’, was published in an obscure online platform, ‘’Sahara Weekly’’.

The story, credited to an unnamed source, made two spurious allegations: that there was an attempt in the Commission to pay N25 billion to a state government in the South East and that Hon. Lauretta Onochie would be confirmed as the Executive Chairman in a letter from the Office of the SGF.

It is obvious that the writer of this false story does not know the basic working of a statutory commission like the NDDC and its procurement process. Before a huge payment is made by the NDDC (and indeed any other government agency), such payments must be approved by the Management, Board, Supervising Minister of the agency and the Federal Executive Council. In addition, the Public Procurement Act has also stipulated stringent conditions that would have to me met before such an amount of money is moved from the coffers of a government agency. I can confirm that no request for such payment has ever been considered by NDDC since the new Board was inaugurated on January 5, 2023 – just three weeks ago.

I can recall that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, had in his speech during the inauguration of the new Board, admonished them to follow extant public procurement laws, guidelines and rules in all their procurements. The advice also ran though many of the papers delivered at the retreat for the new Board held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, last week. In fact, the first formal meeting of the Board only happened yesterday, several days after the false allegations were published. Clearly, this is just a piece of invented tale designed to damage NDDC.

On the issue of the new Chairman assuming executive function, I can confirm that this is not under any contemplation. The NDDC Act 2000 clearly states that the Chairman of the Board does not have executive status. The law specifies that the Board is made up of three executives: The Managing Director and two Executive Directors (for Projects and Finance & Administration). In fact, previous chairmen of NDDC, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu (a distinguished journalist from Abia State); the late Ambassador Sam Edem (a fine public servant from Akwa Ibom) and Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN (an erudite lawyer and legislator from Cross River) all served on parttime basis. At no time did they ever crave executive responsibilities. It is therefore ludicrous to expect that the Buhari administration, renowned for sticking to due process and rule of law, would issue a letter to controvert a law that has been in operation for close to a quarter of a century. The Chairman of NDDC could only assume executive roles if the law is amended. But that has not happened; and I do not even expect that Madam Onochie, the new Chairman of the Commission, would lend herself for a role that would cause rift and disharmony in the Commission.

I can discern that the ‘’Sahara Weekly’’ story is conjured to create a semblance of a rift within the Board and give an impression of an inchoate infighting in the system. My initial suspicion is that it was planted by those who lost out in the appointment, and would rather bring down the commission since they did not succeed. This was the same kind of publications that were churned out soon after the President ordered a forensic audit into the Commission in 2019. There were palpably fears among certain elements that the audit exercise was a witch-hunt. I wrote several articles trying to calm frayed nerves. I am happy to note that finally, the audit exercise has been concluded, and no witch was ever hunted or found.

The new Board and management are fully settled into their duties now, and they are fully aware of the responsibilities on their shoulders, and most of all, the laws of the land. I recently visited the Headquarters of the Commission and I could sense an aura of calm and confidence among the staffers. There is a strong feeling that NDDC is cutting a new path to achieve its set goals.

Last modified on Saturday, 28 January 2023 07:34

Worried about the increasing sex scenes in Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood, clergyman and filmmaker Mike Bamiloye has written an open letter to his colleagues in the industry.

In an open letter on his Instagram page, he castigated actors and actresses who kiss and act in erotic movies.

According to him, most of his colleagues act in such scenes due to the money and popularity benefits.

 

Speaking further, the sexagenarian said such ill scenes have led to many broken marriages and bred distrust between couples.

 

The founder of Mount Zion Television also accused directors and producers who encourage such acts as lustful.

The 62-year-old dramatist wrote:
HEAR ME, ACTORS AND ACTRESSES!

Dear Movie-Maker,

 

You think you are doing great movies?

You think you are making money?

You think you are getting popular?

Dear Movie Actor!

You have acted in many Movies in Nigeria and all your achievement in life has been that

You have Kissed several ladies and romanced many girls on film set,

The roles you love to play in movies are Roles where Men have to kiss you and where you have to play love roles.

My Dear Movie Actor!

Honorable Nollywoodian!

How many Ladies have you kissed on movie sets?

Dear Screen Goddess of the Nollywood Empire,

How many Actors have done love scenes with you in Movies?

Different Mouths have Kissed your mouth in the name of being Professional!

You have been Directed by Lustful Directors to romance Ladies on Film set before More than twenty people who are behind the Camera.

It is like playing love with a woman in the market place!

And your Moral Defenses are breaking down daily before your very eyes!

You can no longer control your lust!

Eh! You! Mr. Man,

You are a married Man, and you are kissing many ladies and your wife and children Are watching you in Movies in their homes and you think things will be alright with your wife?

And you think your Children will be OK in their mind?

They see their Mother,

Having hot Romance with other men in Movies they watch,

And they watch the reactions of their father

And you think they will be Alright in their Heart and Mind?

You want to be Professional!

You want to win Awards!

You want to be Nominated for OSCAR! Abi?

So you have to subject yourself to many disgusting actions on Movie set!

You have to allow many other men to climb on you before cameras because your want to be a Screen Goddess!

And your husband and children are also watching many of these Movies

AND YOU THINK THINGS WILL BE ALRIGHT FOR YOUR HUSBAND AND CHILDREN ?

How can your Wife be Alright at home while she watch her husband passionately kissing another lady in a Movie!

What will become of your Children later as they have seen their father kissing and romancing other women in movies.

YOU THINK YOUR WIFE UNDERSTANDS?

YOU THINK YOUR CHILDREN KNOW YOUR PROFESSION?

You console yourself that they know you are Acting as you fondle other ladies Breasts in broad daylight before the whole world!

Last modified on Saturday, 28 January 2023 07:35

A 26-year-old student, Victor Adegbulugbe, was on Friday docked in an Ogudu Magistrate’s Court in Lagos for allegedly stabbing another with a broken bottle on the head and back.

The police charged Adegbulugbe, who resides at Kazeem Street, Ojota, Lagos, with counts bordering on assault, a threat to life, grievous confrontation and breach of peace.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Prosecutor, Insp Donjor Perezi, had told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Jan. 19, 2023, at about 9 a.m. at Muwazani hotel, located on No 22 Ogudu road, Ojota, Lagos State.

Perez told the court that the defendant stabbed one Akeem Adebare during an altercation and threatened the lives of Sharon Eunkoroh and Ibrahim Adebare that he would kill them with a gun.

He said that the offences contravened the provisions of Section 175, 56 (1)(a), 168 and 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

According to Section 173, anyone found guilty of the offence will be liable to three years imprisonment.

The Magistrate, Mrs M.O. Tanimola, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000, with two sureties in like sum.

She said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos State Government.

Tanimola adjourned the case until February 15 for mention.

Last modified on Saturday, 28 January 2023 07:35

"Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments" -Rose Kennedy

Over time, the idea of 100 days in office has been used to measure the success or failure of governments. How right or wrong is this?

100 is a number, it is a factor not a whole. 100 days in office is a tradition, a ritual that officeholders are wont to mark without any consideration for its significance or purpose. It says little or nothing about the landmark reached and it is not enough to determine efficiency or otherwise.

According to the famous American author, 100 days should not be the ideal yardstick to establish the success or otherwise of a leader or government. He further stressed that success or otherwise in 100 days does not really translate into an enduring success afterwards.

The marking of 100 days should not be blamed on Nigerian leaders as it did not originate from them. Like all else imported, they have so celebrated it in Nigeria that it has become jejune, naive, simplistic and superficial.

Pundits wait for an elected office holder's 100 days in office to analyse his high and his low. Rather than be object focused, they are subject focused. Rather than see it as a prism through which the mood in the environment is measured or the barometer to gauge or control certain influences to which the new government is responding to, wailers will see the 100 days as an opportunity to bash the office holder while hailers will see it as an opportunity to hail him.

Success is a process, nay, a journey, not a destination. Sometimes during that journey, there are stones thrown at you which you would have to convert to milestones. Nelson Mandela, symbol of African struggle for independence was of the belief that one must celebrate, not any particular day(s) but those milestones as one journeys through the road.

Milestone is a stone by the side of a road that shows the distance in miles to a specified place or an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

With increasing distance and challenges along the way, knowledge fades and fades rapidly and, sometimes, the leader reaches a dim boundary, where he is compelled to measure shadows and search among ghostly errors of measurement for landmarks that are scarcely substantial. This is when it would dawn on such leader that counting landmarks are more important than counting days.

Now, if we must count the first 100 days of Gov. Oyebanji in the Ekiti saddle, we should neither hail nor boo his strides. Rather, we should ex-ray the good, the bad and the ugly circumstances that have influenced the landmark.

The good:
The first good Gov. Biodun Oyebanji built upon in his first 100 days in office is the continuity factor. Continuity of democracy, seamless baton exchange and continuity of governance.

Had the transition been an unsmooth one as we had in the past before the last one between ex-Gov John Kayode Fayemi, JKF and current Gov. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, BAO, the story would have been different from what we have today. We would have been talking of BAO still trying to navigate his way through and blaming his predecessor for false steps. There would not have been anything to build upon, but a lot to cry about. The succession was smooth and so the environment is peaceful today.

The second good is the activities Oyebanji quickly embarked upon. Because he is not looking for any vain glory, the governor made maintenance of existing infrastructure his low hanging fruit. He worked on roads and light up the highways. He looked at all the pacts in the critical sectors like education, health, agriculture, etc., and ensured that the tempo was sustained. He pushed the credit rating of his predecessor further with the development agencies and inherited not just all his friends, but converted his predecessor's perceived enemies to friends as well.

The bad:
First is the global economy. The economy refers to the wealth and resources of a particular area, and this time, we are talking of the entire world. The global economic instability heralded Oyebanji to government. Ekiti is not insulated from the meltdown the world economy is experiencing. Economic instability and inflation often go hand-in-hand. The factors that influence an economy are currently out of balance. When an economy becomes unstable as we have presently in Ekiti as the rest of the world, there is inflation, which is a decrease in the value of money. This leads to higher prices, higher unemployment rates, and general angst among the people who are trying to survive financially. In other words, people are naturally not happy with the state of the state, whereby people who are supposed to invest are not doing so and people cannot afford to buy much, either. This causes the economy to slow down even more.

The second bad is the rating of the State among the comity of States in the country in terms of all financial indices. Ekiti enjoys low credit rating and has no bragging right to financial independence. Ours is the poorest among the South Western States and second poorest in the country, talking about what we get from the federation account. The state cannot perform much in the area of internally generated revenue either, considering the low yield of investments at the moment. Ekiti, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has a total IGR of less than N7bn and a total GDP of $2.8 billion. This is the reality Gov. Oyebanji is contending with.

The ugly:
The first ugly to war with in his first 100 days in office is the perennially excruciating fuel crisis. It got so bad that a particular party in opposition had to accuse the governor of deliberately stopping the filling stations from selling petrol during its mega rally in the state capital. Place this side by side with the comparably lean pockets of the people in the poor state, then you will understand why the street is not smiling let alone laughing at the moment. However, like every ugly scene, it is a phase that will sooner than later pass.

The second ugly scenario is passing already. The poor security architecture, characterised by the spate of kidnapping. This is also a national malaise and when compared to other states in the federation Ekiti has faired well in curbing it. No one can blame the development on the governor, even if any had happened in the course of the first 100 days at all. But, if you ask me, it isn't increasing, it is decreasing in the state.

The BAO factor:
There is no denying that the person of Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, BAO is warm and affectionate. He is widely acceptable to all and sundry. He is a governor without boundary, spiritually inclined and gives assurances of better days ahead. He does not pretend to be what he is not, neither does he promise what he cannot do.

No sooner he mounted the saddle than he started engaging everyone on the way forward. He promised to chart a new course for Ekiti development through a six-pillar roadmap, which includes Human Capital Development, Agriculture and Rural Development, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Arts, Culture and Tourism and Governance. Not in the first 100 days but during his four years in the saddle.

BAO quickly showed a transparent determination to boost the State's economy, by commencing talks with agencies of the Federal Government and development partners in Abuja, FCT. He attracted a boost in agriculture, he gave a midas touch to education and health by continuing from where his predecessor stopped. He may not have initiated new ideas yet, but he is putting enough energy into making a success of the existing ones. The infrastructures are receiving a boost. Government facilities are being well-managed. The workers have no reasons to grumble as they get their dues as and when due. BAO has started strong, he is going on strong and he will surely finish strong. No half measures. That, to me, should be his 100-days' rating.

-Segun Dipe is the Ekiti State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Last modified on Saturday, 28 January 2023 08:08

If today there is one thing that is profoundly certain, it is the incontrovertible fact that our country, Nigeria, has been besieged by anarchism, and has therefore become divisively dysfunctional and a dangerous enclave to dwell in. Our country is infested with the deadly disease of anarchism; a system of existence that is in direct opposition and complete conflict to the established order of things. An order that has continually become a blight, an affliction, and a scourge to its people, the state, its institutions and the foundations, destroying the ideals and ideologies that created, sustained, supported and glorified these institutions.

Anarchism in the simplest sense of it, is a sort of political philosophy or movement that is skeptical of all justifications and expectations for authority, and that which seeks to abolish the inherent institutions. Anarchy, derived from a Greek word that means “have no ruler”, panders to a system that rejects governmental authority in favour of self-governing; being synonymous for chaos, disorder, and the breakdown of civil order. These prescriptive definitions and variables, and more, are the state of anarchism besieging Nigeria today, revealing the moral nuances of the violence, that never reconciles with our existence.

 

On a daily basis, if not on an hourly rate, anywhere one turns, one is besieged by this anarchism. The form of this anarchism that has taken center stage in our land, is violence; a gross orgy of ugly carnage that churns one’s stomach enough to make one with even the strongest stomach, retch and throw up every single meal in the body. Our established order has been destroyed, creating unbelievable levels of human spontaneity that negates all sensibilities and sensitivities. Everything today points to a society of wickedness, of wanton lack of empathy; a people of ineptitude, of corruption, and of a rapid and declining value for life, for the sanctity of existence and humanity, and of knowing what is right and inimically refusing to do them.

You may call what is plaguing us; social, economic, political or religious anarchism, but its prevalence and portentousness have become enduring or perduring to the point of becoming impediments to our society. These abnormalities are about to destroy everything we are made of. There is not one day, that one does not pick up an item of news, be it from mainline news or social media news, that one is not confronted with misery, with the sad and gory news of wanton and savagery deaths of innocent Nigerians under the most bizarre circumstances and awkward situations.

 

An argument judiciously used, will point and trace the historical emergence of this anarchist trend to many periods and factors, both from within and without. This point however, looks and feels less contemptible only if one remembers that the origin of disorder and anarchy can be traced beyond and up to the period when bloodletting befell some of us from 1966 to 1970.

However, the emergence of the anarchy that has matured into a sustained national phenomenon today began right from the pogrom and massacre of the Easterners, predominantly the Igbo in the North and in other parts of the country from 1966 to 1970. Once the war ended in January of 1970, and Nigeria failed in properly reconciling the warring factions, and in rehabilitating the vanquished, leaving the Igbo and others adversely affected by that rancid war in desolation, despair and abandonment, the period and process of anarchism set in.

Anarchism was accelerated in the land, when the government of the day, and the Nigeria people invented, cultivated and executed the “scorched earth” doctrine against the losers of that war, and in so doing, got the better of their fellow citizens by refusing to be bound by the laws of reason and common sense, or by the immutable laws of nature. From this point, the Igbo and the others who suffered injustice from that war, began to express themselves in what one may term in a constipated manner; as a people refusing to be subjugated into slavery and struggling to gain dignity in an existence that should portray them as human beings.

 

Today, the known source of anarchism in Nigeria that can be traced logically to the sordid events of the civil war and its aftermaths, has left no stone unturned, and no area untouched in the challenge of all known norms producing harderned criminal elements both in the political and other spectrums of our lives. This has inherently, defied all standards of morality and decency in our land.

In my undergraduate years, we were taught in our Political Philosophy classes, and I was somewhat convinced, that violence through anarchism was a necessary tool needed in overcoming the obstacles erected by our political systems, and that it was beneficial for our institutional growth, stability and advancement. We were taught that some form of anarchy was needed by individuals and citizens to correct the ills in our society as it provides some form of release of energies for persons to realize the level of powers at their disposal. In other words, that anarchism is good for our society as it makes it possible for transition and fluidity of power to thrive in the instance where “the commander of yesterday can become a subordinate of tomorrow”.

This “Good Anarchy” prompted us university students in the 1970s to take the laws into our hands in enforcing what was deemed by us to be right in correcting the ills of our society. We caused real anarchy – the type that sought to change our society for the good. However, this is not the form of anarchism that we are witnessing in our land today. What reigns supreme today, is anarchism of rape, blind murder, kidnapping, and willful anachronism, causing us to drown in our own tears.

Let it be noted, incidentally, that Nigeria prior to our period of independence from Britain, maintained a relatively peaceful political atmosphere. The audacious criminality that prevails today is a result of the abhorrent ways the country has treated its citizens and the Easterners, especially the Igbo and executed that war in a manifestly ignoble manner and disdainful ways. To belabour these known facts may be an inexcusable burden on this part of our history. Therefore, as we must learn to move on from this somewhat otiose but hapless issue, we must also ponder the advent of the problems in our land and seek solutions.

 

As I write this difficult essay, I see my job not only as a historian  (which I am not), but  whose job it may be to trace the chronicles of our problem, and in so doing, give a voice to the oppressed, the vanquished, and feel the past in ways that will genuinely liken its disturbing occurrences to our present uncomfortable lives.

It is glaringly evident that the evil that now besets our land flows from the past and present men’s purposes, desires and beliefs, and derives also from some fundamental wickedness and ignorance. The killings, the rape, the beheading, the kidnapping, the burning, the looting and all the senseless destruction – all occurring simultaneously all over our country, are clear signs of anarchism.

I am tempted to list a few of the anarchisms in our country, but where can one start and where can one end? Is it the case of the Chibok school children who  were kidnapped and extinguished, the many innocent citizens in their hundreds of thousands who have lost their lives to senseless murderous anarchists, criminals and vandals, or the vandalization and sacking of prisons, churches, mosques, schools, markets? What about the kidnapping and beheading of a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly? They cut off his head, hoisted it on a pole and paraded it on the streets of this man’s hometown. What about the revered Head of The Methodist Church who was kidnapped or rather captured, as it appears that we are at war? They took the man of God into the jungle, tortured and humiliated him while extorting huge amount of money from his congregation. Again, what about the absolutely horrific recent incident of Catholic priest, Father Isaac Achi, who was burnt to death in his rectory – the sanctuary of God?  These frightening occurrences are anarchisms of the highest order and dire consequences.

The most scary thing about this issue, is that government is helpless and hopeless. There are myths and there are dogmas, and there are so many other reconstructed views and contrasts about these ugly occurrences, but what is abundantly clear is that we are all in trouble. It appears that there is not a single answer to the catastrophe, and that no amount of any ingenious attempt of those who lead us now can resolve these problems of cataclysmic bloodshed and destruction.

 

Today, a groundswell of discontent and anarchy has become the prevailing norm of our life – it is now a moment of shame for every one of us as we stand at a crossroad, and witness a moment of great challenge. Our country is at war, a battle of lugubrious licentiousness, our economy is in turmoil, our planners are in peril, and anarchism rules the land.

An honest confrontation and reflection with our past history, I believe will liberate us, at least if from nothing, from the moral burden that should free us from the shackles of our many national tragic stories in order that we might create ourselves anew. Specifically, the senseless killing of Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Samuel Akintola, Okotie Ebo and other politicians in the January 15, 1966 military coup signaled one of the early waves of our deleterious and repulsive bloodletting. Then entered another perniciously and cowardly marked period in our bloody history; the gruesome assassination of Aguiyi Ironsi, Adekunle Fajuyi and scores of other military officers of mainly Igbo extraction and of Eastern Nigeria origin.

As if these killings were not enough, the entire North from Makurdi to Jos, Sokoto to Maiduguri, Kano to Katsina, Zaria to Zangon Kataf, Kaduna to Kafanchan, Bauchi to Malunfashi, performed the worst kind of holocaust in the history of mankind when the people from these zones conducted the pogrom against the Igbo and other Easterners maiming and killing hundreds of thousands mostly children and women – even pregnant ones and their unborn babies. What followed these sordid events became even more gruesome; the Biafra war, where the blood of over 3 million innocent people were used to irrigate the fertile land of Eastern Nigeria.

The rehashing of these tragic histories, should not be a recriminatory one, but should serve as a trace of the beginning of anarchism in our land, and should question if Nigeria is ready, or need to pursue the opportunity to shatter the myths and denials that seek to secure our innocence or guilt from these sins and evilness. In doing so, I reckon that we must all repudiate the injustices of the past, and face the consequences of our ignoble actions, otherwise we will all remain impaled on an unseemly history of deadly anarchism.

Try as I may to tell a different, better story about how we arrived at where we are today, we must exorcise the ghosts that will never leave us alone, because we have not atoned for our sins, and have refused to admit to, and confront our problems directly by working hard for a better Nigeria and by putting aside our old hate, our tired fears and the histories that justify them.

Our government’s infestation with cronyism, ineptitude and corruption encapsulate its error-proneness and its congenital incapacity, or its reluctance, one may think, to deal or cope decisively with these problems and the exogenous awe and shocks these anarchisms present. Averse to these tendencies that aggravate our vulnerabilities, our leaders hem in their ignorance and their overbearing inflexibilities in dealing with these repulsively grotesque killings and anarchy that have bludgeoned us into total submission.

 

Similarly, the impetuous inclination by our politicians to ride on the crest of these anarchists in furtherance of their mindless political agendas, has become part of these chronic instabilities. After all, we have been told that the deadly Boko Haram terrorist group was the creation of certain known politicians who are now, inconveniently, riding in the bilious bellies of the vicious tigers they created.

As I write about these inconvenient truths, I am sure that many, due to premodial reasons do not see any value or sense in my essay. Even for those who do not see the sickening evilness and vileness that have befallen us, can they not at least appreciate the catharsis my pacifist positions bring to our sepulchral situation in a country overtaken by anarchism?

Admittedly, there is statistical evidence to prove that our country has become a dystopian nightmare. We have lived to legitimize anarchy and treated this demonstrable destabilization of our fractured land like they are worthy of the same consideration as normalcy.

What is clear, is that after over 50 years of our consistent pharaonic decline, the Nigerian people earnestly yearn to recapture the civilizational glories of our past. But what is not clear, is who in our political landscape would do this revival, the reconstruction and the recapturing?

Nevertheless, my interpretive gaze at this situation, provides a perspectival shift that acknowledges that we have made our beds full of thorns and scorpions, but that our redemption may only come from our collective voice of conscience speaking from a universal point that is motivated and driven by love and kindness towards one another.

Last modified on Friday, 27 January 2023 13:55
June 12 is the election that has been described as the freest and fairest in the country’s history. Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, (MKO), Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in 1993, is presumed the winner of the election. The election was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida, a former head of state, a self-styled evil genius and one of the so-called owners of Nigeria. However, in 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari declared June 12 as Democracy Day. Abiola had won a truly national mandate, his victory and mandate, though unfairly and unlawfully stolen, shows Nigeria’s unity is not an impractical dream.
 
Interestingly, the African hero, the pillar of sport, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, GCFR, also known as M. K. O. Abiola, a Nigerian businessman, publisher, and politician. Who then was the Aare Ona Kankafo XIV of Yorubaland and an aristocrat of the Egba clan. It was not totally in vain that Nigerians chorused, “M.K.O, is our man oo” in 1993. Even in death, he remains the country’s symbol of hope for good governance. Notwithstanding that the late business mogul, Abiola polled a total number of 8,342,309 against Tofa, his arch rival who garnered 5,952,087 votes, the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the results.
 
M. K. O and Emilokan is destiny interwoven. The good Lord has commissioned a replica of MKO in BAT. Expectedly, the values are noted to have been a strong building block in the moulding even of the Nigerian nation and to the delightful envy of many other cultures within the country. Tinubu in the eyes of his traducers has conveniently substituted igbo l’okan for a personal "self-seeking" Emi ‘lokan bogey. BAT's ingenuity and steadfastness for years counted in his favor. The city boy, a dogged fighter built himself to become the principality to reckoned with.
 
Tinubu, believes in his God-given capacity to navigate the country to the glorious destination. Instructively, as the last man standing in the opposition in Nigeria at the end of the end of 2007 when the then ruling party PDP in collaboration with many undemocratic elements swept the entire opposition elements away with OBASANJO's Do-or-die politics. But for the courage, tenacity and steadfastness of BAT, then - the essence of democracy would have been defeated and the opposition will not be breathing today. For those who do not know, June 12 birthed Emilokan.
 
Unsurprisingly, the spirit of MKO Abiola, usually enveloped the last man standing Bola Ahmed Tinubu whenever he appeared in Abeokuta the home town of MKO. In the buildup to his party’s presidential primaries, which he later won, Tinubu went into a diatribe, calling out those he perceived were standing in his way, including Governor Dapo Abiodun. “Emi lokan”, “O lule”, which have since found their way to the Nigerian political lexicon, were used by Tinubu in Abeokuta. Similarly, BAT, was in the Ogun State capital, on Wednesday, January 25, for his ongoing campaigns ahead of the February 25 presidential election. He once again showcased courage and resilience.
 
It is against this backdrop that I like to conclude this article that focuses on the spirit of June 12, MKO and Emilokan exponent by highlighting the following:
 
1. There is no rift between emilokan and the Buhari presidency. It was the spirit of togetherness and June 12 that enveloped Asiwaju the Jagaban of Borgu and by the grace of God the 16th President of the federal republic of Nigeria.
 
2. Expectedly, the opposition elements are as usual desperate to promote falsehood and create the impression that BAT is at loggerhead with the party and the presidency by deliberately twisting the Abeokuta declaration.
 
3. The APC Governors have adequately demonstrated their commitments to the party and to their presidential candidate. APC is posed to reenact the MKO's landslide victory of June 12 1993.
 
4. Allegedly, the major oil marketers are said to be behind the artificial scarcity of products to embarrass the Federal Government and create voters apathy.
 
5. Some Banks chief executives close to a particular candidate who is enjoying the backing of some discredited former Head-of-State and former President are also playing games in cohorts with the Central Bank officials.
 
6. Olusegun Obasanjo and his friend Afe Babalola has over time being clamouring for "INTERIM GOVERNMENT" clandestinely with some known undemocratic elements.
 
But of course, the assumptions that there is a rift between Emilokan and the Presidency is just the imaginations of some elements of the opposition who are just bunch of confused social irritants oscillating between confusion and ignorance. Finally, using the words of Bishop David Oyedepo "NIGERIA WILL BE PEACEFUL"

Last modified on Friday, 27 January 2023 14:02
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