I have followed with a keen interest the controversies and debates that followed Professor Wole Soyinka’s latest piece titled; I regret my share of this National insult after President Jonathan honored the late General Abacha during the Centenary celebration few days back. I have read the accounts of the late dictators two children, Gumsu Abacha, and Sadiq Abacha. I have also followed reactions from commentators and those who witnessed the days of the locusts. Regrettably, I ran away with the tragic conclusion that history has shown that men never learnt anything from history.
President Goodluck continues to amaze me. I have been thinking with my associates why a President of Nigeria in the 21st century will include the name of Nigeria’s dictators, particularly the ruthless General Sani Abacha as one of the honorees at the Centenary celebration. One clear answer from our discussions is that President Jonathan may not have known what Nigeria suffered in the hands of Abacha from 1993 to 1998. The conclusion is that those who did not know how we got the democracy we are rubbishing today have been the ones ruling Nigeria since 1999. This is the simple reason why Nigerians have been suffering for almost 16 years now.
Despite the inevitable toy throwing – from bishops and overseas churches – there is little anyone can do about them
Well, you could knock me down with a feather duster. The Pope is looking into the subject of gay marriage. According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Holy Father said to him that “rather than quickly condemn them, let’s just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people”. OK, it’s hardly a new Vatican policy. But language matters. And in the week of the first anniversary of Francis’s appointment as pope, it is worth recognising how far the language has come.
The commercial on Lonart, a brand of artemether/lumefantrine combination made by the Indian company Bliss Gvs Pharma Ltd and marketed in Nigeria by Greenlife Pharmaceuticals never ceases to amuse me. The commercial plays regularly on television, and there is also a regular radio version of it. There were earlier editions, on television and on radio, respectively. Now, there are ones.
But, I still prefer the older television version. In this, a lawyer was prosecuting an apparently remorseless “Malaria” represented by a man that looked like an imp, with all his body painted in yellow. He could have walked straight out of a Hollywood alien horror movie. With “all” the lawyer accused “Malaria” of doing, and with “Malaria’s” conduct in court, you would expect that the judge would not be lenient with “Malaria”.
Not a few Nigerians have expressed shock at the list of delegates to the proposed National Conference in Abuja. It does appear that the zeal and trust hitherto placed on the conference have faded away very quickly.
Except for very few in the list, over 90 percent of the delegates to the confab are there to make up the numbers, and to get their own share of the national cake. It is clear that President Jonathan clearly has other ideas for finally deciding to hold this conference. It is obvious that the nation’s future is not the issue here. At best a jamboree is in the offing, or an owambe kind of picnic.
Mr. Sanusi says he was suspended because of his determination to get to the root of the missing $20 billion oil money.
Few days before he was suspended, the outgoing Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, told top bankers in the country that they would have to open their books to unravel the whereabouts of the missing $20 billion oil money, the New York Times is reporting.
Suspecting that some of the bankers had helped in laundering the missing money, Mr Sanusi said on February 11 he warned the top bank executives in a bimonthly meeting that their books would have to be scrutinised to discover where the missing money had been lodged.
Jonathan wants leaders to make people-centred policies their watchword!
Although he was recently in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, for a purely partisan purpose – to receive decampees from other political parties to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – President Goodluck Jonathan made a thought-provoking and statesmanlike remark. He called on political leaders in the country to make the welfare of the people the thrust of their policies and programmes. This is in tandem with the maxim of the pursuit by the state of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of the people.
But democracy naturally should serve as a vehicle for promoting public welfare and development only when public officers, particularly elected ones, rise above brazen partisanship, subordinate themselves to the rule of law, promote transparency and accountability and elevate the public interest above personal considerations. On all these counts, it is doubtful if President Jonathan is faithful to his own counsel. As President, he has not shown the example he is recommending to other political leaders.
The controversy dogging the National Conference may well continue into its inauguration. Many groups and individuals yesterday complained about exemption from the list or the ability of some delegates to represent their constituencies.
The Southern Taraba Stakeholders Forum (STSF) yesterday rejected the nomination of Mrs. Salome Jankada as one of the state’s delegates.
Jankada, a politician from Southern Taraba, was nominated alongside Justice Adamu Aliyu and Alhaji Suleiman Zubairu by Acting Governor Garba Umar.
Professor Timothy Uzodinma Nwala, is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Nasarawa State University and had before then, taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he spent most part of his life. Nwala who hails from Imo State, was a delegate to the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference where he was a member of the Political Structure and Framework of the constitution Committee; and Constitution Drafting Committee. In this interview, he spoke on how the 1994/95 conference avoided the landmines set by late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, how the British authorities established the diminution of the Igbo in the polity among others. Excerpts:
THERE were indications, yesterday, that the Federal Government is in a fix on how to accommodate the 492 delegates to the National Conference, billed to begin next Monday.
Findings by Vanguard showed that the government was torn between putting the 492 delegates and six secretariat officials in choice hotels in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and paying them certain amount per month in lieu of accommodation.
Even in a country where untold oil wealth disappears into the pockets of the elite, the oil corruption scheme he was investigating seemed outsize — and he threatened to lay it bare at a meeting with Nigeria’s top bankers.
The rabble-rouser was none other than the governor of the country’s central bank. Weeks later, however, he was out, fired by Nigeria’s president in an episode that has shaken the Nigerian economy, filled newspapers and airwaves here, and even inspired a rare street demonstration.
The bankers were going to have to open their books, the governor, Lamido Sanusi, warned them at the recent meeting. He wanted to see where the money was going — $20 billion from oil sales that, mysteriously, was not making its way to the treasury, in a country that could soon be declared Africa’s biggest economy and already attracts the most direct foreign investment on the continent, according to the United Nations.
A technical fault, disintegration, or terrorism are among possibilities under scrutiny as search for wreckage continues
If a technical fault or pilot error is behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, any answers are unlikely until the plane is found – and even then, previous incidents suggest that a definitive explanation could be some time away, with first wreckage and then a flight recorder needing to be located, potentially deep beneath the sea.
For now, all theories are highly speculative – but possible explanations include:
On St Valentine’s Day last month, after days of rain, Rome suddenly found itself bathed in warm sunshine. The canopy of cloudless blue materialised just in time, because in St Peter’s Square around 10,000 engaged couples, from 40 countries, were gathering to receive papal blessings.
As with any event that involves Pope Francis, the level of interest outstripped all expectations. This, after all, is a pope enjoying his own extended honeymoon period. Intended for the cavernous Pope Paul VI auditorium, the first-ever festa dei fidanzati, or lovers’ party, had to be transferred to the biggest Catholic stage of all.
Christians all over the world, including those in Nigeria, are currently observing Lent, a very important event in their annual calendar. The 40-day Lenten season, which began with Ash Wednesday on March 5, is a period of introspection and sober reflection for the faithful. The season is symbolic of the suffering, temptation and tribulation of Jesus Christ, the progenitor of the Christian faith, who went through an extraordinarily difficult and lonely period prior to his eventual crucifixion on the cross of Calvary.
That trial and subsequent death, for Christians, mark a final atonement for the sins of mankind. For many Christians, confession of sins and unflinching belief in Jesus Christ are fundamental for anyone to claim the eternal benefit from his sacrifice.
We expect the security agencies to be on top of their game during the visit of Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips to the countrys and be on alert to nip in the bud any unwholesome situations.
THE deciscion of the Federal Government to grant Visa to a “renowned extremist and Islamic terror Preacher” (borrowing the description of a Newspaper report, not Daily Independent), Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, at this critical time of mourning caused by unrelenting assaults on the people because of insurgency is indeed questionable. The fact that these security upheavals have religious undertone makes it a more sensitive issue, which has generated polarised opinions.
AREWA Consultative Forum (ACF’s) recent call on politicians not to endanger Nigeria’s democracy and directive to some of its officials to help government resolve the retarded development of the North and seek viable non-oil economic sustainability of the region, is ordinarily a harmless and justifiable idea.
Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who is the chairman of the ACF Board of Patrons, had stated at the inauguration of the new ACF leadership headed by former Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Coomassie, that for the country to develop all northerners and Nigerians must support the fight against all forms of insecurity.
He was quoted to have said inter alia: “We believe the situation is not beyond redemption and so should not be allowed to set a new national agenda of reconsideration of our unity and nationhood…The difficult times should spur national grandeur; bring about good leadership and the best in every one of us, instead of the current hype in ethnic nationalism and religious bigotry that seek to promote cleavages that are self-destructive.”