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INEC: 14 LGAs To Participate In Adamawa Supplementary Election

18 March 2019 - 12:26am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the governorship supplementary election scheduled for March 23 in Adamawa State, would be conducted in 14 Local Government Areas.

Kasim Gaidam, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), on Sunday, told NAN in Yola that the election would be conducted in 29 wards (registration areas) and 44 polling units, where more than 40,000 votes were earlier cancelled in the recent governorship election.

“The commission has prepared for the supplementary governorship election in the state. The election is going to be conducted in 14 LGAs, 29 wards and 44 polling units spread across the state,” Gaidam said.

He listed the local areas as Yola South, Fufore, Ganye, Girei, Guyuk and Hong.

Others are Lamurde, Numan, Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Shelleng, Song and Toungo  LGAs.

Gaidam, however, explained that the election was declared inconclusive as provided by law based only on official registered voters, not Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected or accredited voters.

He said: “Other figures being circulated should be disregarded as only report released by the Returning Officer should be considered.”

The results of the governorship election announced by Professor Andrew Haruna,the Returning Officer for the state, showed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ahmadu Fintiri, scored  367,472 votes, while a total of 334,995 votes were secured by  incumbent Governor Jibrilla  Bindow, who is seeking reelection on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Bags Of Sand Sent To Families Of Victims Of Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash

18 March 2019 - 12:24am


Family members of victims of Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crash weep as they visit the crash site.jpg

Family members of victims of Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crash weep as they visit the crash site.jpg Daily Mail

Bags of sands were sent to the families of the victims who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash that occurred in Addis Ababa last Sunday. 

The measure was taken because the forensic identification of bodies will last six months.

According to The Guardian newspaper, none of the bodies were intact as they were all charred and fragmented.

Two grieving families spoke about the situation. An Ethiopian government official also confirmed the soil deliveries.

“The soil came as it became impossible to identify bodies and hand over remains to family members. We will not rest until we are given the real body or body parts of our loved ones,” one family member said.

“We were told by the company that we will be given a kilo (of earth) each for burial at Selassie Church for a funeral they will organise,” another family member added.

Forensic DNA work has begun to identify the remains. But it may take six months to establish each of the victims of the crash, who came from 35 different countries, among them two Nigerians.

Authorities say they will issue death certificates within two weeks.

On Sunday, an aircraft hangar in the Addis Ababa was filled with white roses as aviation staff gathered to remember the two pilots and six crew members, who died in the incident.

The flowers, traditionally used to mark the passing of lives, were placed in front of a row of empty coffins at the ceremony.

“Our deep sorrow cannot bring them back,” an Orthodox priest in a traditional black turban and black robes told the crowd.

Multiple agencies are working to establish the cause of the disaster, while Interpol and Blake Emergency Services, hired by Ethiopian Airlines, will work with the Ethiopian Police and health officials to identify the bodies.

A number of countries have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8, which was involved in the crash.

Boeing said it supported the grounding of its planes as a precautionary step, but restated “full confidence” in their safety.

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149 Defective Buildings Identified In Lagos

18 March 2019 - 12:19am


The Lagos State government has identified 149 distressed and defective buildings and marked them for demolition.

Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, revealed this on Sunday after five houses were demolished on Lagos Island by the state government.

The commissioner said of the 149 buildings, 40 of them have been demolished.

Ogunleye stated that the demolition was done in order to avert the repeat of the collapse of the building in Ita Faji area of Lagos Island last Wednesday, that led to the death of 20 people. Many people were also injured in the incident.

The houses demolished on Sunday were 25, Elegbata Street, Apongbon; 199, Tokunbo Street; 27, Inabiri Street; 16, Egatin Street, and 45, John Street.

Ogunleye added that the state government would comb the whole state for structurally defective building, and advised landlords whose houses have been marked to either demolish them or risk forfeiting the houses to the government.

Speaking on how people secretly move into marked-for-demolition buildings, Ogunleye said: “In some instances, where the owners and occupiers were served with notices and evacuated, people secretly returned to re-occupy the buildings, despite the sealing off of the structures by the LASBCA.”

He warned that the government would invoke Section 74 of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law and move to take over any house or building that collapses due to the “negligence of owner or developer in the state".

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I Won't Manipulate Elections In Your Favour, Buhari Tells APC Candidates

18 March 2019 - 12:16am


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has told the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidates contesting in rerun elections to work hard to gain votes and not expect him to manipulate in their favour. 

The President said this on Sunday through Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media.

The president cautioned against hate spewing, incitement to violence and polarising statements by some political leaders as some states prepare for supplementary elections fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conclude elections declared inconclusive.

According to Buhari, some past Nigerian  presidents were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, adding that this may have accounted for “why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now, but President Buhari is a different kind of leader.”

He noted that the President swore to defend the Constitution and would not veer off from that. 

Shehu said the Constitution of Nigeria gives the president no such powers to interfere in any election matter, stressing that it was unfair and ridiculous to criticise Buhari for not going against the constitution. 

He said: “Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.

“Interestingly, while members of the ruling APC were criticising the President for not interfering on their behalf, members of the opposition were condemning the president based on their assumptions that he would definitely interfere, as many in the opposition, did while in power.

“Under President Buhari, INEC has been and will be completely independent throughout the elections, free from any interference.

"President Buhari is a man of conviction, and the manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for. INEC is completely in charge."

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Combatting Rogue Pastors and Commercialization in South Africa By Leo Igwe

17 March 2019 - 2:05pm


The title of a local movie, the Fake Prophet, that was distributed in Nigeria as part of the campaign against child witchcraft accusation in the country, made me curious. Those behind this project had the best of intentions- to educate and enlighten people regarding the fraudulent claims by witch branding pastors. They wanted to expose the tricks of self styled men and women of God, the manipulations of clerics who claimed to have supernatural powers and employ such pretensions to deceive, abuse and exploit gullible folks.

Still that the title of this film did not sit well with me and constantly agitated my mind. Too many times I queried: What does a fake prophet mean? Is that not a tautology? Which prophet is not fake?

Are there genuine prophets and prophecies? Can one really make a distinction between fake and genuine prophets?

Recently, I have had to contend with these similar questions in trying to understand South Africa’s ongoing efforts to tackle bogus pastors and the commercialization of religion. South Africa has gone to the extent of setting up a commission to curb these dangerous practices. Take note, by South African definition, commercialization of religion is a harmful enterprise. In pursuant to this project, church leaders have been investigated and sanctioned for reckless and irresponsible religious claims and practices, or for violating the rights of their members. One of such pastors sprayed insecticides on the congregants during prayers.

So I totally concur with the President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who has recently urged a conversation about how to deal with bogus pastors.

But the problem is: how does one define a bogus pastor? To curb the commercialization of religion or to hold rogue clerics accountable, it is important to explain what is meant by commercialization of religion or a bogus pastor.

As in the case of the Fake Prophet, there is lack of clarity in the usage and application of these terminologies. And this conceptual vagueness or ambiguity needs to be dealt with in order to adequately situate, understand and address dangerous religious practices in the region.

First, on the issue of commercialization of religion, South Africa wants to combat religious profiteering. The country is trying to curb the exploitation of vulnerable people or better, the mercantilist religious schemes of pastors who promise blessings or miracles at a fee. This is quite commendable. But how far can South Africa go in fulfilling this objective? How does South Africa differentiate commercialized from non-commercialized forms of religious expressions? What are the assurances that this project is not a form of witch-hunt, that only targets some pastors, prophets and churches and not others?

This is because commerce has been the main driver of religious growth in Africa and the world. While presenting itself as a charitable or humanitarian program, religion has always been a commercial enterprise, that profits religious establishments. In fact, traditional, Christian, and Islamic religions are transnational business empires and have thrived by marketing blessing, prophecies, and prayers. Religious business mainly thrives on bogus supernatural claims. Christian churches and mosques owe their enormous wealth and money to the sale of religious goods and transcendental schemes.

While President Ramaphosa of South Africa was right in urging a discussion on bogus pastors and their dangerous practices, the problem remains: What does he mean by bogus pastors? What are the criteria for determining rogue clerics and their questionable religious claims? It must be recalled that Ramaphosa made this remark in reaction to the controversy over Pastor Alph Lukau’s resurrection claim.

Now let’s take a closer look at this Lukau’s case. In a widely circulated video, Pastor Lukau claimed to have brought a dead man back to life. He was seen telling a man in a coffin, rise up! And in reaction to this incident, Lukau has been widely mocked and criticized. In fact another South Africa prophet has challenged him over the resurrection claim urging Lukau to go raise the late Nelson Mandela. Many other South African pastors and prophets have made very bizarre and controversial religious claims.

Now let’s not forget, stories of resurrection and other counter-intuitive notions exist in Christianity and constitute the pillars of various religious traditions. Regarded as articles of faith, these claims are rarely called to question or subjected to critical examination as in the case of Lukau. Mainline priests, bishops, sheikhs, imams, and ulamas are not challenged for promoting these Lukau-like ideas and performances. They are usually not pilloried for promoting dubious questionable religious claims.

Whilst African Christians believe that Jesus resurrected from the dead or that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, they are ready to mock and dispute the resurrection claims of Lukau and other African prophets, designating them as bogus and fake.

In fact how does the idea of a fake resurrection claim make sense to anyone? Is there any resurrection claim – including that of Jesus – that is not fake? Out of deference to their faith or others’, Africans are unwilling to challenge established Christian or Islamic
resurrection/revelation claims. Africans seldom mock mainstream Christian or Islamic versions of fake, dubious and stage-managed resurrection, ascension and revelation narratives. This amounts to a
double standard and could undermine the credibility of the campaign against dangerous religious practices in South Africa.

To succeed in tackling rogue pastors and commercialization of religion, South Africa must advance a clear and unequivocal definition of bogus pastors and commercialized religions. The country should apply these definitions to all clerics (self or other styled) and to all religions in the country without fear or favour.

South Africa should not privilege some bogus pastors/prophets/imams over others; some fake resurrection/ascension/revelation claims over others; some religious exploitative and extortionist schemes over others.

South Africa must be unbiased in combating both mainstream and fringe forms of commercialization of religions and religious skulduggery.

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A Giant Called Pius Adesanmi By SOS/Sonala Olumhense

17 March 2019 - 1:56pm


Sonala Olumhense Syndicated

Sonala Olumhense Syndicated
I never met Pius Adesanmi, the remarkable Nigerian icon who died in the Ethiopia Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash last weekend.

But we were part of an NVS editorial board for a while, and I read much of his writings.  I knew his spirit.  And his heart.

It is why I understand why his death has hit so many people so hard and so personally that there are remembrances being held in so many places around the world.  

Sadly, those who lose the most by his passing, particularly Nigeria’s poor and exploited, did not know him.  And ironically, those who gain the most will be the scavenging and ruthless social and political manipulators that were at the receiving end of his work, wit and wisdom.

It is good, then, that while death may not end the journey God begins for each human being, it does sever the consciousness of the departed with earthliness.  
Otherwise imagine how outraged Adesanmi might have been upon discovering that President Muhammadu Buhari, who didn’t know he existed while he existed, described him and Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, another Nigerian who died in the crash, as “distinguished Nigerians who did the nation proud in their professional endeavors.”

Did Nigeria proud?  

I pay my respects to Mr. Bashua, an accomplished diplomat, and condole his family and friends.  
But Adesanmi cannot be thought of or remembered in the same way.  As an intellectual, he was a champion of excellence, a currency that is admired and widely-sought in much of the world.  

But while he was a scholar of reputable standards and achievement, it is the quality of his character and his voice that brought him celebrity in Nigeria.  

The irony is that in his tribute, Buhari did not—could not—acknowledge that side of the man.  Responding also, Senate President Bukola Saraki also said he did not know about Adesanmi but read some of his articles last week when the explosive impact of his death consumed the country.  

This is important.  Nigeria has a lot of frontline professionals in many fields within and outside her borders.  Few, however, have either the inclination, commitment or talent to step outside their comfort zone and open their voices on behalf of right over wrong.  
Those who do are dismissed as people who complain because they have not been given a place at the table.  Translation: every Nigerian is a thief.

But Adesanmi was a reminder that there are people who do not want a part of any dirty buffet; people who believe there is enough for all, particularly if the best and most able are allowed opportunities that should go to the best, not the best-connected.  He hoped for, and yearned for, and campaigned for a Nigeria that would rise to its potential.  

The trouble is that nobody can do that without identifying the factors and people that are responsible for her failures.  But Nigerian power-wielders hate to be so identified, let alone challenged.  It has become our character and history as a people: Obafemi Awolowo was in his time and prime the best-qualified for national leadership, but he would not get it.  Tai Solarin died screaming for social justice, as did Gani Fawehinmi.
Sometimes, we even go abroad to advertise our disdain for quality.  Appearing before the Editorial Board of the New York Times in the late 1980s at the peak of his powers, Tom Ikimi, who was Sani Abacha’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, arrogantly dismissed the worth and work of Wole Soyinka.

Remember, Soyinka had just won the Nobel Prize.  “Anybody can win a Nobel Prize!” Ikimi thundered at the astonished journalists.  

They walked out on him.  

In 2004, when Chinua Achebe rejected the award of a National Honour because of the sordid record of Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, particularly in Anambra State, government spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode offered him this insult: "If you feel that your country does not deserve to honour you, then we believe you certainly do not deserve your country." 

Nigerian leaders resent and reject the logic of excellence and performance.  You worship them with presents and praises.  They love the language of such people as the delegation of so-called non-career ambassadors who visited Buhari a few days ago.  

They were led by a man called Ashimiyu Olaniyi, who told Buhari with something of a straight face: “You are God-sent. You have always come on stage at the critical moments of our national history to right the wrongs of the past.’’

He told him that his election and re-election, “are divine interventions in the affairs of the country.”
Buhari had to have been glowing with joy, liars such as Olaniyi being priceless and memorable.  Unlike writers, particularly irreverent critics such as Adesanmi who have no price tag. 

Little wonder then, that Buhari, an unrepentant nepotist, never noticed Adesanmi.  People like that are said to be merely “speaking grammar.”  To have noticed would have been to acknowledge the writer’s abhorrence of the Nigerian leader’s world of self-worship and hypocrisy.  
Of that world, I give Saraki credit for finding the courage to attend a memorial event for Adesanmi in Abuja last week, along with Senator Dino Melaye, although I do not believe any of them read enough of him to understand what he would consider to be penance or repatriation.  

What would Adesanmi would have thought of the massive “Jail Bukola Saraki” signs seen on the side of London’s famous buses last week?   It is unimportant that the images may have been photoshopped: London is Saraki’s real hometown, the one where he became a man and is thought to hold most of his wealth.  That such signs were thought up and paid for either by Nigerians rich enough or creative enough says a lot about where the Nigeria struggle goes next.  

It is significant that Buhari told the Olaniyi group last week his government is trying to reverse the mismanagement of his predecessors, “and with some luck, our best will be good enough.”

Luck.  

Adesanmi would have been furious that while Buhari clearly had but fuzzy plans in 2015, in 2019 when he should be recognizing the critical importance of leadership, better policies and dogged implementation, he is throwing his hands into the air just as he threw eight meaningless fingers for the election. 

Clearly, that means that Nigeria, post-Adesanmi, has a dark road ahead.  

So what do we owe Adesanmi?  There is always a lot of energy when a man of such moment passes; in Nigeria, sadly, we do not translate them to action.  What meaningful memorial is there, today, of Achebe?
In my view, the most fitting tribute would reflect not only his prodigious energies but his advocacy of meritocracy and quality.  Let us have an annual writing competition in his name and writing prizes at least in schools he attended, the objective being to unearth new literary gems and courageous voices from the bowels of the soil he cherished so much.  

Adesanmi opened his heart and gave it away.  In the end, that is all that matters, for it is by our hearts we live and die, and touch others.  

• sonala.olumhense@gmail.com
• @SonalaOlumhense

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I Have No Reason To Resign From PDP At This Time, Says Jonathan

17 March 2019 - 10:55am


Former President Goodluck Jonathan has debunked the report that he has resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He stated this in response to a report that he purportedly granted an interview to a certain Nigeria News Agency (NNA), which quoted him as dumping the party.

However, a statement issued by Ikechukwu Eze, the former President’s media adviser, on Sunday, referred to the report as “fake”.

The statement read: “Obviously, this is a fabrication borne out of mischief as the publishers of the fake story claimed that the former President made the statement while being interviewed by Nigeria News Agency, (NNA).

“There is absolutely no way the former President could have spoken to a non-existent news agency, as none in the country goes by that name.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Dr Jonathan has no reason at this time to resign his membership of PDP, the party under which platform he became Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and President.

“Those who derive pleasure in spreading fake information had better occupy themselves with more productive endeavours that are obviously more relevant to nation-building.”

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'No Words To Describe The Depths Of My Pain' — Pius Adesanmi’s Wife Speaks On Her Husband's Death

17 March 2019 - 10:35am









     

Mrs. Olumuyiwa Balogun-Adesanmi, wife of the late Professor Pius Adesanmi, has expressed gratitude to individuals, groups, organisations, institutions over the show of support in honour of her husband on the occasion of his passing.

Professor Adesanmi was one of the 157 victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that occurred last Sunday.

She expressed gratitude for the “incredible demonstrations of support and waves of condolences” she has received, noting that Nigeria was dear to Adesanmi's heart even though he “deeply appreciated the blessings of making Canada home”.

    

A statement issued in Ottawa, Canada, read: “I have no words to describe the depths of my pain on the untimely passing of my husband, Pius Adesanmi. He was an extraordinary scholar, husband, devoted father and a fine gentle man. He was an uncommon breed. He wrote about human rights, gender equality and human dignity. He practised what he preached. I am a living witness to the kindness of his soul and love for others. 

“Pius Adesanmi enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Our daughter Tise’s words often tugged at his heart every time he needed to travel. He compensated for his regular absences by being generous with his time. He was witty, funny and a joy to behold.

    

“My family and I have been touched by the incredible demonstrations of support and waves of condolences sent our way. I have learned about people of all ages and backgrounds, who never met Pius Adesanmi but broke down in tears when they learned of his death. I am comforted by the sheer enormity of the lives he touched. He lived and died in pursuit of a better world. He lived and died in service to Africa. Nigeria was dear to his heart and he longed for Nigeria’s development. Pius Adesanmi was also a Canadian citizen and deeply appreciated the blessings of making Canada home.

“I appreciate the tremendous support from the Canadian and the Nigerian governments. The administration, students and faculty at Carleton University have been exemplary in our moment of grief. The academic community in Canada, Nigeria and around the world have been immense in their tributes. I applaud all individuals and institutions around the world that have held or plan to hold vigils, processions and other events to mark my husband’s transition. I thank all local, national and international media organizations for their professionalism in the coverage of the unfortunate crash. Our extended family, neighbours, and friends from all areas of human endeavour have stood solidly by us. I am deeply grateful. Mo dupe, E se pupo, Merci. Thank you.

    

“Pius Adebola Adesanmi, the whole family misses you. I miss you. I miss your laughter, ebullience, reassuring presence as well as the effervescence and incandescence of your person. ‘Bola, you were an uncommon star in the firmament of God’s creation. Oko mi, sun re o (sleep well, my husband). O daaro o. Goodnight, Okun ‘Bola.”

PHOTOS: Akintunde Akinleye

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Civic Media Lab's Night Of Tribute For Pius Adesanmi

17 March 2019 - 10:13am

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Chidi Lloyd Apologises To Buhari, Tells Magnus Abe To 'Take His Sanctimony To The Dogs'

17 March 2019 - 8:19am


Chidi Lloyd, Director-General of the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, has apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari for lashing out against him with negative criticism.

Lloyd also accused Magnus Abe, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, of conniving with Nyesom Wike, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to scuttle APC’s chances in the state, telling him to "take his sanctimonious demeanour to the dogs".

He further berated Abe for attempting to coat his personal views as those of Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, and a leader of the APC in the state.

In a statement he issued over the weekend, Lloyd noted that he is an adult, capable of making personal comments on the state of the nation.

The statement read: “My attention has been drawn to an orchestrated mischief titled: ‘Stop Abusing President Buhari, Abe Cautions Amaechi’ by Senator Magnus Abe aimed at pushing my personal views as though they were that of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Ordinarily, and by my nature, I wouldn't have bothered with a reply to the diatribes but for the damage he intends to do, I want to state categorically that my views are my personal thoughts and should not be credited to any other person other than me.

“As a stakeholder in the politics of Rivers State, I feel sad that a collaboration of Senator Magnus Abe and Governor Wike and their accomplices in the Rivers State Judiciary denied us so much in power structure of Rivers State. Whereas, it is an incontrovertible fact that Magnus Abe was collecting huge sums of money and a land cruiser jeep, including payment of legal fees, from Governor Wike to pull the rug off the feet of the APC, it is even more annoying that Magnus Abe did everything under the sun to stop President Buhari from being re-elected. It is on record that when we were working round the clock to ensure we re-elected President Buhari, Magnus Abe addressed a team of 23 coordinators across the 23 LGAs in his camp to go to their LGAs and instruct their supporters to vote for Atiku instead of President Buhari and they did.

“I want to state here that no reasonable member of the APC in Rivers State feels happy over what is happening in Rivers State of which Magnus Abe is part of. Magnus Abe and Wike sat down with Obo Effanga, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Rivers State and drew a list of returning officers and collation officers. Magnus Abe nominated Dr. Peter Medee, a member of the PDP, as the Returning Officer of Emohua LGA, my LGA, to work in favour of Wike.

“Magnus Abe should take his sanctimonious demeanour to the dogs. As the days go by, more and more Rivers people and indeed Nigerians are getting to know that Abe is a man without honour. Today, the same Abe who joined forces with anti-Buhari senators led by Senator Bukola Saraki is acting like he believes in President Buhari than the rest of us. Where was Abe when only 10 APC senators stood out for President on the floor of the Senate? When President Buhari was away for medical treatment, the same Abe was in nocturnal meetings planning how to force President Buhari out of office as if he was God who gives health.

“Every true Nigerian will agree with me that President Buhari's emergence and subsequent re-election is the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria. I am a full supporter of President Buhari and I am doing that without regrets. My statement may have sounded harsh; I regret it and take responsibility for that. I am sorry. I spoke in anger because of the collusion of INEC and Wike in Rivers State governorship and state house of assembly elections.”

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New Zealand Killings And Increasing Religious Intolerance Around The World By Aroghalu Chidozie

17 March 2019 - 7:47am


Reading and watching a video about how a terrorist attacked a church in the New Zealand was not only devastating but appaling. 

Not to mix up issues, I believe in God, his supremacy and I believe strongly that he did not create the world for this anomaly to happen.

I must also point out that Human Life is human life, whether Muslim or Christain, everyone has the right to life. 

It is very painful when pretentious Christains attack Muslims and when pretentious Muslim attack Christians. I strongly believe that every man deserves nothing but peace and God is love , I believe that Islam preaches peace and Christainity does same, the puzzling question is , why then the continued killings? 

There are a thousand and one reasons that people have given to explain the killings we have witnessed contiually . While my position may be subject to debates, I believe strongly that religious leaders are not doing enough around the world to stem this violence from going on further.

You will find a religious leader who should be an ambassador of peace castigating other religions and instigating his members towards violence sometimes indirectly. 

Many of the terrorism that we have witnessed is borne out of a belief-system but the truth remains that a larger percentage of harm is done by preachings of religious leaders who do not help matters in an already fragile society.

Sometimes preachers see this as a way to get more loyalty but they forget easily that every man's deserves freedom to choose where to worship afterall religion is meant to make us have a saner society.

I have witnessed instances in communities where pastors and Imams keep stating things that can harm the peace of the society.

The other issues we have is the perceived supremacy of the religious settings to the law, everyone has a freedom of religion but what happens when people are 'forced' ? 
Thee government authorities of various countries must wake up to checkmate extremism in different climes.

There are laws that helps to checkmate the excesses of any issue that may affect the land, the truth is basically that we must wake up as a society to reality of issues. The government must not see religious bodies or leaders as above the law, anyone found instigating violence or applauding extremism should be made to face the wrath of the law, the full one.

Is it not because we are alive that we are worshipping? 
Eventhough there is the belief that even when you die you still belong to God, does that justify the untimely killings? The senseless terrorism? 

To what end?  

If religion cannot promote peace,  love , development , God's like attitude,  to what end are we then having it cut brilliant minds shut?

We must not really allow incidences of myths to be a reason why we won't be our brother's keeper.

We need a world of peace and everyone , no matter the affiliation has a role to play in this peace that we do desire. 
Let me also point it clearly that we cannot allow babies , young male and female to die from our intolerance and intention to keep one religion above the other . 

We must all rise up as human beings and stand for the society we desire. 

I am a Christian but I am not blinded to realities of life  , I would not support unjust behaviours, unjust killings , unjust approach to terrorism.

While we sympathise with New Zealanders we must not forget our own dear country , only if we had same outrage for killings in Nigeria like we had for New Zealand ,maybe things would have been better.

Many Nigerians are killed daily (Christians and Muslims) , I have not seen the kind of agitation I saw for the New Zealand killing, we must condemn killings in all countries and even the ones in our own backyard. 

We must symphatise with our brothers but we cannot close our eyes to our own land .

I must  also make us all understand as individuals that we cannot keep stocking fire of enmity, I have kept seeing young educated men and women , stating that "If those killed were from the other side , they won't call the man who shot 'gunman' " but I really am pained, why can we not rise to condemn this killings together because our fellow humans were killed by a terrorist who should not be allowed to kill any other human soul. 

We all deserve to live in a  society  we would be proud of. That singular opportunity must  not be taken away. 

I condemn in totality the killings, I call on the international community to stand firm against this killing. Pastors must condemn the killings, the Vatican must condemn the killing.

Beyond religion,  We are bound by our human existence   and that we must not lose.

Aroghalu Chidozie 
Writes From Abuja
Chidozie.law@live.com

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Finding Trump: A Review Of The Secret Letters Of Donald Trump Age 72 1/6 By Tijani H. Ibrahim

17 March 2019 - 7:25am


I will start with a confession. I was responsible for the publication of the “The Secret Letters of Donald J. Trump age 72 1/6” by Rudolf t. g. Hess. It is the same way that President Barack Obama was responsible for Donald Trump’s decision to finally run for president.

At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2011, Obama made fun of Donald Trump. Obama mocked Trump’s leadership on the TV Show, “The Apprentice,” deliriously comparing it with running the United States. Obama’s taunt was reinforced when the comedian of the night, Seth Myers, came on stage and finished up Trump. One of the comedian’s lines went like this: "Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican - which is surprising, since I just assumed that he was running as a joke."

In June of 2015, Donald J. Trump came down an escalator inside Trump’s Tower in New York City and declared that he was running for president. From that day till today, America has not been the same. A force of nature named Trump was released to the world.

Similarly, a few months ago, I had mocked Rudolf Okonkwo’s GoFundMe effort to raise money for the publication of his book, “The Secret Letters of President Donald J. Trump age 72 1/6.” He had posted the appeal and for two months nobody donated a dime. My mockery spurred some people to donate some money, out of pity. I say so because he barely raised one-fifth of what he wanted. But that seemed to have been enough.

Having been entangled with the project in this manner, I felt that the least that I could do when it was finally published was to get a copy and see for myself.

Reading “The Secret Letters of President Donald J. Trump age 72 1/6”, you will experience laughter, anger and bafflement. Like in Trump’s letter to Allah, you may have a reason or two to curse out loud. In Trump’s letter to his daughter, Ivanka, you may need to go and wash your hands afterwards. In Trump’s letter to Kanye West, you may smile as sparks fall when two male egos clash. Rudolf sustains your interest with a tension that is as strong as watching a drop of dew on the tip of a leaf while an morning breeze intensifies. The book has enough dose of Trump fighting back his perceived enemies like the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, John McCain, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. In Trump’s letters to Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and others, we get a glimpse of why Trump considers them better leaders than Theresa May or Angela Merkel. Still, there are moments, like in Trump’s letter to God, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry when Rudolf brings out the childlike nature that every observer of Trump feels is hidden, and sometime, begging to come out. Trump’s combative nature also shows in his letters to LeBron James, Omarosa and Emmanuel Macron among others.

Seamlessly intertwined in these letters is the autobiography of Trump, specially stories about Trump and his family that are not common knowledge. For instance, in Trump’s letter to his father, Fred Trump Sr., we are told that Trump’s father was a friend of Benjamin Netanyahu when he was the Israeli ambassador to the UN. Also flowing across the letters is a typical American view of the world. With the possible exception of George W. Bush, most recent American presidents were not typical Americans the way Trump is. This typical American viewpoint manifests in Trump’s letters to European leaders like the sexy mama President of Croatia during the World Cup.

“The Secret Letters of Donald J. Trump age 72 1/6” is not the work of a reporter. This is the work of an invader who jumped into Donald Trump’s head and pulled out from hard-to-reach corners of his head nuggets that explain things about his life that have thrilled as well as baffled us all. I don’t care who you are, conservative or liberal, after reading this book, if you don’t have a fundamental change in your understanding of Trump, something is wrong with the education that you have received – go and get a refund.

I don’t know if Rudolf takes psychedelic drugs. But if he doesn’t, he should label whatever he takes a psychedelic drug of some sort- for only someone who takes some sort of drugs will crawl into the mind of Trump to extract for us his innermost thoughts. He went where no investigative journalist had never gone. Did I say went? He allowed himself to be possessed by the man, Trump. That is the only way that he could have found the real Donald Trump.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote that, “All human beings have three lives. Public, private, and secret.” Rudolf accomplished a difficult task in this book. He stepped on the public and the private and went straight to the secret life of Trump. Even as you read these letters, you find yourself stretching your understanding of not just Donald J. Trump but the world that you live in.

There is no greater sorrow than to get to the end of this book and to wonder if Trump will ever submit that last letter to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. All in all, Rudolf left you thinking that if Trump had not existed, someone else would have existed in his place. It was time. The Trump time. Which leads me to the down side of the book: because Trump is not stopping his quest to shake every table on his path, Rudolf will have no option but to continue the chronicle of Trump years. Considering how fast things move in Trump’s world, some of the letters are already dated, like the letters to Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.

“The Secret Letters of President Donald J. Trump age 72 1/6” is what every political satire should be like – intelligent, downright funny and still strikingly original. It is a portrait of President Donald Trump that nobody knows. It is so good that whatever opinion of Trump that you have, you will close this book knowing him more and agreeing that for better or for worse, he is a truly remarkable man.

In “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” Italian writer, Luigi Pirandello, wrote that, “Life is full of strange absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.” Trump was a character in search of an author. In the hands of Rudolf, Trump came alive so well that you will totally forget that the story came from Rudolf the son of Okonkwo. Unless, I hope this is not a spoiler, unless one buys the bullshit insinuation in the preface that some Russians sent the letters to the author.

To my surprise, Rudolf was not just monkeying around in the book. Writing under Dr. Damages’ nom de plume, Rudolf t. g. Hess, a reader is left with a feeling that there are men goofing around as writers and there are writers goofing around as men. Rudolf is half of both. He has definitely learnt something as a practitioner of the art of political satire.

If I were Trump, it would be too much of a favor to send enfant terrible like Rudolf straight to hell for writing this book. He should spend a considerable time in purgatory just to have time to think of what he did to the minds of the readers of the “Secret Letters of President Donald J. Trump aged 72 1/6.”

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Again, Gunmen Kill Policeman In Bayelsa — And Steal His Rifle

17 March 2019 - 6:49am


Hours after a previous attack on a hotel in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, which left two policemen dead, another policeman attached to the popular Joepal Supermarket at Amarata area of Yenagoa, was shot dead on Friday night.

His rifle was also stolen.

The recent attack is coming a few hours after two policemen attached to Udeme Hotels, owned by Senator Emmanuel Puller, were shot dead and their rifles carted away.

Also, before the February 23 presidential and national assembly elections, a police checkpoint under the Julius Berger bridge in the state was attacked. The attack left a policeman killed and another critically injured. Two rifles were stolen.

Sources within the police command confirmed that five Police rifles had gone missing in the last three weeks due to the attacks.

A senior officer within the command, who preferred not to be named, said preliminary investigations showed that an unarmed cult group in the state may be responsible for the killings and rifle theft.

“They have been attempting to secure rifles to attack their rivals and carry out criminal activities in the state. Though we got wind of it at a time and tried to lure them to buy, so as to apprehend them. However, in doing so, we nearly walked into a death trap ourselves. The boys escaped. We arrested one and seized a vehicle, but some ‘forces’ stopped their prosecution. Now, they have police rifles in their possession,” the officer told SaharaReporters on Saturday.

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Pseudo Democracy, Pseudo Democrats! By SOC Okenwa

17 March 2019 - 5:30am


SOC Okenwa

SOC Okenwa

The much-anticipated general elections in Nigeria had come and gone with controversies still trailing them. To the surprise of a few amongst us perhaps the presidential, legislative and gubernatorial polls produced violence, death, injuries and injustices. Generally local or national elections in Africa often represent sources of blood-letting, thuggery, electoral violence and manipulation of votes and voters. Nigeria is never an exception in this regard. Sometimes electoral seasons signalled a return to war-zones in the cities and villages as 'prisoners' are taken and booty carted away as it were.

In Nigeria it was the same old story of lack of complete independence of the electoral umpire (INEC), the deployment of incumbency factor to the advantage of those in power, vote-buying and ballot-box snatching etc. Since independence in 1960 there was no election held in Nigeria without much to talk about in terms of rigging, under-age voting, importation of foreigners (especially in the far-north) to vote and logistical failures.

Last February 23rd and March 9th respectively Nigerians went to the polls to decide who governed them at the federal and states' levels. This year's electoral edition gave birth to more controversies and surprises than the previous exercise four years ago. Then in 2015 the then President Goodluck Jonathan had played a statesman by gracefully acknowledging his humiliating defeat -- calling the winner (now President Muhammadu Buhari) to offer his congratulatory best wishes. But whether he would have done otherwise is still left in the realm of conjecture.

But the presidential poll of this year featuring Buhari and the opposition PDP's Atiku Abubakar as frontrunners generated more political heat, hits and misses. Atiku officially 'lost' and Buhari 'won' by a huge margin of over four million votes, or so we were made to believe. Atiku has doggedly refused to accept his fate denouncing militarisation of the process and manipulation of results by the ruling APC and the forces behind them.

The Wazirin Adamawa is currently locked in a potentially protracted litigation at the Election Petition Tribunal to reclaim the "stolen mandate". The global community are watching and following events as they unfold with serious attention. It is agreed generally that it is within Atiku's right to seek rdress in a court of competent jurisdiction rather than settling for self-help or violence.

The Nigerian democratic space has witnessed lately a whole lot of activities bordering on recriminations linked to the outcome of the polls. And the Nigerian factor has reared its ugly head in the process. Former Vice-President Atiku's decision to challenge the re-election of the incumbent President would certainly enrich our democracy rather than threatening same. While the Election Petition Tribunal has commenced sitting they are yet to deliver the final binding verdict.

But expectations are high in many quarters that the Tribunal may not deliver justice to the Atiku camp given the Nigerian factor. Justice in Nigeria is not only corrupt but the powers that be often manipulate same for their selfish political interests. Besides, one can 'buy' justice with money and/or connections. If in any doubt then ask the former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili, an expert in judicial merchandise!

So very little hope exists of the possibility of the Tribunal doing justice, doing the right thing by emulating the Kenyan Supreme Court. Last year in Nairobi, it would be recalled, the Supreme Court had delivered a monumental judgement annulling the controversial re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta thereby vindicating the position of the opposition leader Raila Odinga who declared and proved that the presidential poll was systematically manipulated in favour of the incumbent Head of State.

The Kenyan presidential poll was re-done but surprisingly Odinga renounced his re-presentation or participation for cogent reasons he had elaborated. He had backed out of the poll because of the existence of a non-level playing field and the repeat of what he had denounced as a fraudulent process. Yet rumours had started flying around, upon the sudden withdrawal from the race, that Raila may have been blackmailed into submission!

Ever since President Buhari won re-election in a controversial fashion few weeks ago the nebulous Nigerian factor has come into play, to wit: politicians paying homage and congratulating him hypocritically, traditional rulers visiting Aso Rock to pledge their loyalty to the system, political groups, in their notoriety, struggling to outdo one another to register their adherence to Buharism. All of whom, without exception, had been urging Atiku Abubakar to forgo his legal challenge to the Buhari victory for 'peace to reign'. Utter balderdash!

Pray, did the man they were visiting in Abuja on three consecutive occasions not reject his glaring defeat at successive presidential contests involving him and took matters to the court for redress? Did he not unconvincingly blame the PDP rigging machinery each time he was handed a resounding short end of the stick? Did he not go to the violent extreme of promising ominously that the baboons and monkeys would be soaked in blood in the event of the 2015 presidential election not going his way?

It is unfortunate that we have a semblance of democracy (no matter how ugly its face) but one without democrats! From every stretch of imagination President Buhari himself, with all due respect due him as the number one citizen, cannot be described as a democrat. As a former military tyrant Buhari has constantly manifested, in and out of power, anti-democratic tendencies and attitudes inimical to the advancement of the democratic dream. He always spoke glowingly about his military exploits even in a supposedly democratic setting! Besides, true democrats are never involved in coup-plotting yet Buhari was a proud coup plotter that once truncated democracy!

Since 1999 Nigeria could be described as a democracy struggling to find her feet. As the largest democracy in the sub-Saharan Africa challenges lie ahead as never before. Though imperfect from practically all indications the giant of Africa has miraculously weathered the democratic storm post-June 12, that day of infamy in 1993 when democracy triumphed but was criminally killed by the Babangidaised hubris. Today, though abused here and there, now and then, democracy has come to stay in our land. 

Nigeria is hopelessly operating a poorly-rated mediocre democracy manned by poorly-rated mediocre 'democrats'! Pseudo democracy and pseudo democrats! Rather than being remembered for quality services to the country they are rather remembered for the millions and billions of Dollars they looted from the state treasuries! Pity! From the man at the very top down to the political thugs and killers on the streets the hope for a better nation is already compromised in our reckoning.

If democracy aside meaning government of the people by the people and for the people could be associated with spreading freedom, pursuing justice and fostering national integration then we have collectively failed to live up to that expectation.

For Adesanmi: Fare Thee Well!

Penultimate Sunday I was terribly shocked to learn online of the tragic passing of the prolific writer, teacher and philosopher, Prof. Pius Adesanmi. He was among 157 people that perished in the Boeing's 737 Max 8 Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed fatally soon after take-off at the international airport in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

Few years ago while on a sabbatical in Paris, France, I had exchanged some emails with Pius. We never had the opportunity to meet one-on-one. He read my articles religiously and I read his as well. The 'pious' Pius had left us too soon too early for anyone to remember the meaning of the ultimate leveller.

It was indeed a sad loss to his friends and family, to us the critics who love our country and to the nation of our birth. We shall all miss you, Pius!

Fare thee well, big brother! 'One thing must kill a man' as the layman's slogan goes. Adieu!

SOC Okenwa
soco_abj_2006_rci@hotmail.fr

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Finding Meaning In Pius Adesanmi’s Self-prophesied Death By Ogaga Ifowodo

17 March 2019 - 5:15am


Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi


Perhaps ‘tis kinder that vultures toil
To cleanse torch-bearers for the soil
Than eagles bare their living bone
Chained to an eternity of stone . . .
Kinder that, lured by cleansing rites
He fell, burnt offering on the heights
— Wole Soyinka


In the high noon of the ninth day of March 2019, Dr Pius Adesanmi, professor of literature and African studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, in Canada, posted the rather foreboding verses of Psalm 139: 9-10 on his Facebook wall: “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” This has been rightly interpreted as Adesanmi’s foretelling of his death, especially when read together with the epitaph in his own hand composed six years earlier: “Here lies Pius Adesanmi who tried as much as he could to put his talent in the service of humanity and flew away home one bright morning when his work was over.”

Fly away home he certainly did on the 10th of March 2019. In the morning of that day, I woke up from a dream with the ominous sense that someone very close to me had died. For one inclined to the Freudian approach to dreams, who takes them as the continuation of waking life and so as the unrestrained but distorted expression in semi-consciousness of the desired or the repressed — in other words, one who would say upon waking “it is only a dream” — this was quite disconcerting. I just could not banish my fear of the demise of someone dear no matter how many times I muttered, “it is only a dream.” 

This was the dream: I am asleep, with the bedroom door closed. Then I’m impelled to open my eyes and turn my face to the door, which opens on its own accord. A tall man, around middle-age, in orange overalls, the sort worn by Shell’s oil-field workers, is standing at the threshold. It appears all he desires is that I notice his presence for as soon as he is sure I’ve seen him, he disappears, without uttering a word. And I’m overwhelmed with the feeling that what I’d seen was the ghost of a relative, that he had come to bid me farewell. But the only person close enough to me to ground that fear, a cousin more like my older brother, had long retired from Shell and though still indirectly connected to the oil giant in his present employment, was, the ancestors be praised, hale and hearty as I quickly ascertained. So, it was really only a dream after all.

Except that it wasn’t. Dead was another brother, Pius Adebola Adesanmi, with whom I share no family blood ties, our shared human blood and twenty-five-year friendship sealed by a common citizenship and love of our hapless country being as strong. The Shell motif? Maybe because I had the dream in Shell’s residential estate in Warri, and that in Adesanmi’s only volume of poems, The Wayfarer and Other Poems (2001), Shell is portrayed unflatteringly for the havoc it does to the flora, fauna and people of the Niger Delta.  Like the multitude plunged into inconsolable grief on learning that Adesanmi, travelling under his Canadian passport, was on the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa for Nairobi, killing all aboard, the futility of denial — “No, it’s not true . . . Pius can’t be dead . . . he is not dead,” etc. — swiftly led to rage. 

But rage against a machine, fragmented upon its thunderous impact with earth, some parts aflame, was useless. Still, I raged, blurting out a first mourning cry via Facebook and WhatsApp, two of the social media platforms he used so effectively and endearingly as a witty, acerbic and penetrating critic of Nigeria’s politicians, priests, and sundry powers, of even their victims, the masses, whom he often saw as too docile and complicit in their oppression.

“What or who do I curse?,” I cried? “The day? The plane? The makers of the new technology-driven aircraft on which my friend and my brother was flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi? Ah, death! And the stealth and many ways it comes! But it should never ever have set its sights on Pius, again, having tried and failed last year. Ah, Pius, you survived that road accident, and marvelled that you did: ‘I still don’t know how and why I survived,’ you wrote to me. And death shamed that you had proved stronger than it on the road stalked you in the air. Ah, Pius, Pius, my brother Pius . . . From the campus of the University of Ibadan, to the campuses of Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania, and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, to that visit to Jersey City in 2007 when I was finishing my dissertation (here’s the photo of us together on the Hudson River Walk), and all the places too many where we were together alone or with mutual friends . . . I can’t bring myself to say rest in peace and yet I must wish your restless, fecund, passionate and patriotic (how much you ached and wrote to save Nigeria!) soul eternal rest. Well, then, rest. You did more in your short life than many can living the fullness of their days. Rest in peace, my friend, my brother.”

But back to that premonition of death. Professor Adesanmi, having consciously chosen the career of a public intellectual, set about it with uncommon zeal. He gave his life to the people, whether as one of the most widely read and admired columnists to come from his country with a rich history of intellectuals-cum-writers-and-social-critics, or as teacher and mentor to younger scholars. In all of Adesanmi’s engagements, scholarly, social or otherwise, he exuded an unmistakable secular conviction. So why did he turn to the bible to announce his death? And, really, was it just in order to give notice that he was flying away and that wherever he might end up, even if in the uttermost parts of the sea, God (Nigeria having failed him) would comfort him? I think it is beyond that. A full reading of Psalm 139 reveals a man still irrevocably bound to the land that vexed him to death.

He had railed and wailed relentlessly about every inanity of his people, but the more he lampooned and satirised and coldly analysed the more things degenerated. What was left but to seek a realm and a presence more assuring than his headstrong country? Where to find solace but in a return to his Catholic boyhood, and the words of another poet, King David?

We may argue if Adesanmi’s work was really done, even accuse him in our grief and guilt of offending the living by “choosing” to die, as Ali Mazrui accused Christopher Okigbo, another writer who famously foresaw his own death — “If I don’t learn to shut my mouth, I will soon go to hell: I, Christopher Okigbo, together with my iron bell” — and went to meet it at the Biafran warfront. But read verses 19-22 of Psalm 139 and you would see that despair drove Adesanmi to fly away, to directly ask God to “slay the wicked,” the “men of blood,” God’s “enemies.” Indeed, the vehemence of David/Adesanmi’s utterance towards the end belies the soothing comfort of God’s hand and ineluctable presence sought at the beginning. “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?” As if his intent could yet be mistaken, he declares: “I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” The enemies of Nigeria are the enemies of God, be they Christians or Muslims or non-believers; though as an altar boy Adesanmi had a special hatred of the sanctimonious money-changers, mammon-worshippers, miracle-peddlers or, simply put, scam artists who also go by such names as General Overseers, Men (mostly) of God but women also, who litter every street with “churches,” the names of many too ridiculously funny to evoke any sense of awe or the Almighty. 

I began these brief reflections with an epigraph taken from Wole Soyinka’s elegy for Christopher Okigbo. I’ll end with John Milton’s poem “Lycidas.” Milton saw the death by drowning of his friend Lycidas, a priest, as analogous to the degeneration of the clergy in 17th Century England, which being a self-avowed Christian country, symbolised the degradation of the polity.

Adesanmi loved Nigeria to death, sang in full throat the many-strained and straining, plainly draining, sad song of our even more degraded land than Milton’s England. “Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,” without leaving “his peer,” Milton moaned, and added: “Who would not sing for Lycidas? / He knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. / He must not float upon his watery bier / Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, / Without the need of some melodious tear.” Our only solace is that Adesanmi’s life underlines the saying, “It is not how long but how well.” For had he lived a hundred and forty-seven years and not a mere forty-seven, he might not have given a better account of himself.

Since he achieved under five decades what many can never hope for living the fullness of their lives, who would not sing for Adesanmi? Why shouldn’t we pause from our mourning cry and sing instead for a pious soul prematurely gone to join the ancestors? Adieu Pius.

Ifowodo, lawyer, poet, writer and rights activist was Assistant Professor of English at Texas State University and author of History, Trauma, and Healing in Postcolonial Narratives. His most recent volume of poems is A Good Mourning.

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EXCLUSIVE: Ajimobi To Fight Head To Head With Tegbe And Adelabu For One Ministerial Appointment

17 March 2019 - 3:05am

Abiola Ajimobi, the outgoing Governor of Oyo State, is set for a head-to-head battle with Joseph Tegbe, governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, and Adebayo Adelabu, governorship candidate of the party, to become Minister when President Muhammadu Buhari reconstitutes his cabinet at the start of his second term.

The three-way battle for a ministerial slot is a direct consequence of the party’s woeful outing in the general election in Oyo State.

Before he was pressurised into stepping down for Adelabu right at the convention ground for the Oyo APC governorship primary in September 2018, Tegbe was promised ministerial appointment. This was further confirmed last week when 11 prominent Oyo politicians under the name Otunba Jimi Tegbe (OJT) Vanguard openly attacked Adelabu for his criticism of Tegbe after losing the governorship election.

The OJT Vanguard had said they were “convinced that the aim of Adelabu’s recent outburst is simply to subtly sabotage the proposed assigned role of Honourable Minister to be given and reiterated several times to our principal and party faithful who were so aggrieved that the gubernatorial ticket was denied our principal”.

They had also said the ministerial offer was “well-announced after Joseph Tegbe heeded to the plea to step down for the party consensus in the interest of peace and unity”. 

“Adelabu Bayo needs to acknowledge that you cannot eat your cake and have it," they added. "Tegbe is the Minister and Ajimobi has said it and the heavens have sanctioned it. President Muhammadu Buhari shall approve it this time; remember he was nominated in 2015 when Adelabu was nowhere in APC."

In the last few days, however, Ajimobi, who hitherto endorsed Tegbe for ministerial appointment, thinking he would win his own senatorial election, has now been showing interest.

Adelabu, who was also expecting to be elected Governor of the state and was therefore supportive of the ministerial slot for Tegbe, is now expecting the party to compensate him with a ministerial position that he can build on to recontest in 2023.

“Ajimobi feels that since he contested but didn’t win, he deserves to be Minister to maintain his political relevance,” a source familiar with unfolding events told SaharaReporters on Sunday.

“When Tegbe was told to step down for Adelabu, he was promised a ministerial position, under the assumption that Ajimobi and Adelabu were going to win elections. The Governor was doing Tegbe’s bidding, thinking he and Adelabu would win and then back Tegbe for Minister.

“Now, Adelabu, after losing the election, believes he has to be compensated. He also wants a ministerial appointment to keep himself relevant in politics ahead of a second shot at Oyo governorship in 2023. At this point, all three are against one another.”

Adebayo Shittu, who is currently Minister of Communication, and a former Oyo APC governorship aspirant, is not left out of the drama.

SaharaReporters understands that Ajimobi, having been Governor, is the leading candidate to get the slot.

However, something that could count against him is that he is currently out of favour with Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the party, who believes, like many others, that Ajimobi's unpopularity with the people is the single biggest reason for APC’s loss at the polls.

The Oyo APC is scheduled to hold a meeting today to x-ray why a party that won nine house of representatives and two senatorial slots ended up losing 28 of 33 local governments two weeks later.

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Dapo Abiodun Meets Gbenga Daniel Behind Closed Door Hours After His Resignation From PDP

17 March 2019 - 1:47am

Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor-elect, on Saturday held a closed-door meeting with Otunba Gbenga Daniel at the former Governor’s residence in Maryland, Lagos.

The meeting held hours after Daniel, who was Director-General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, announced his decision to quit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and active politics.

In a letter dated March 14, 2019, and addressed to the National Chairman of the party, Daniel had said the decision is personal, as he had decided to take on “new challenges”.

He also said he had decided to “rejuvenate” his charity-based organisation, the Gateway Front Foundation (GFF), and that he had plans to resuscitate the “non-partisan Political Leadership Academy (POLA)”, which was “established some years ago as a platform of political education to our citizens”.

His most detailed explanation, though, is the series of internal crises that the PDP has grappled with since losing control of Ogun state in 2011, the peak of which was the 2019 governorship candidature tussle, which saw the court endorse Buruji Kashamu despite the party's preference for Ladi Adebutu.

Before the March 9 governorship election in Ogun, Daniel directed PDP supporters in Remo, Ogun State, to vote for Abiodun, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would later declare Abiodun winner, announcing he polled 241, 670 votes to leave Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in second place with 222, 153 votes.

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Tribute To Pius Adesanmi By Bayo Aregbesola

17 March 2019 - 1:34am


On February 18th, 2019 at about 6pm in Ottawa, I had a loaded conversation with Pius. Half in Yoruba and half in English, he said, “Bayo, mi o ro wipe mo ma make up to 50 years. As if to buttress his point and mock me with the premonition of his death, Pius repeated this to me in English language. “Bayo, the way I am feeling nowadays I might not make it up to the age of 50. My son was within hearing distance. I reverted back to the Yoruba language. I questioned Pius, asking him why he will nurse such silly thoughts.

Thereafter, I dismissed what appeared to be just a passing morbid moment as we changed the subject to the usual concerns about Africa, its potentials and its many unfulfilled promises. We also discussed our appreciation for and devotion to Canada, the country we both dearly love. We often wished many developing countries could emulate Canada’s love and respect for human capital development.  

Looking back now, I think that Pius might have had a premonition of what was coming in the next few weeks.  As I later found out and as reported in the editorial in the Washington Post, Pius had playfully penned his own epitaph in 2013. He wrote: “Here lies Pius Adesanmi, who tried as much as he could to put his talent in the service of humanity and flew away home one bright morning when his work was over.”

My friend, Pius Adebola Adesanmi was a like a meteor let loose from a comet and landed in Yagba land in Kogi state, Nigeria. Without doubt he used his 47 years sojourn on earth to create the effect of a star, lived a life full of his message, and left in a hurry before we could make sense of it all.

Our paths first crossed over two decades ago at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. We continued our friendship in Canada and lived together as students at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. So, you might understand, I would struggle to present our shared memories in less than 5 minutes. However, we can all agree that Pius was a good man. I know he had mentored and touched many lives. For me, I will confidently say that he was instrumental to my modest success. Where do I start or end if I had to tell my story about how Pius positively impacted my life?

I would assume you all know that Pius detested bad governance. So, you will not be surprised if I confess to you that after we completed our respective studies at UBC, Pius encouraged me to seek for an internship position at the International Criminal Court, ICC, in the Hague. 

He wanted me to work where people who perpetrated bad governance are held accountable for their actions. He said to me and I quote: “Bayo, you know, ICC is not only a good place for you to start your career, it will also be comforting for me to have a friend working with a Court where individuals that drove me out of my continent could be held accountable for crimes against humanity.” That was how I went to the Hague – by the way, not as a person indicted by the ICC, but as an Intern. And Pius went to teach at Pen State University in the USA.

By the time he moved to Carleton University, this angel called Pius that God assigned beside me guided me when I applied into the Canadian public service and soon, we were both back in Ottawa. He had a good heart. He was a good husband to his wife, Muyiwa and a good Dad to his lovely daughters, Oluwadamilare and OluwaTise. Many of you might not know, he was also a good cook. I am not suggesting that he was a better cook than his wife, and certainly not mine, but he was better than me. Since he was good at it, I left any cooking chores to him through the time we lived together as students at UBC.

Time will not permit me to go into more detail about many of his good deeds. As a messenger for humanity in the public space, he has left his footprints everywhere for posterity.

According to Gary Keller: Life is a question and how we live it is our answer. Pius lived a life that answers many questions. His life was his message. His pen was his weapon. It appears that he even used his pen to mock death by posting verses from Psalm 139 on his Facebook page a few minutes before the plane crash that took his life. It also seems that as a Pan-Africanist, he chose to embrace His maker on the African continent, specifically in Ethiopia, an African country that was never colonised since Italy’s occupation there never led to an enduring colonial government. Pius embraced Africa in complete pure form. Naija no dey carry last!

Muyiwa,  Damilare and Tise, may God uphold you.  Mama Adesanmi, eku oro omo. Oluwa aduro tiyin. To Pius’ siblings, extended family and his other friends and colleagues, Ojo ajina si ara won o. Pius has done his best for mankind and had left us behind to continue his good work.

As we celebrate his life, we should not forget that the only fitting tribute to his memory is to do our best for humanity. Je continue de croire que le seul hommage qui mérite d’être rendu en la mémoire de Pius serait de donner le meilleur de nous pour l’humanité. And to Payu – as I fondly called you, my friend and my brother – if you can hear this: Goodnight this morning!

Emmanuel Bayo Aregbesola

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I Was Asked To Join A Cult To Get Political Position, Says Taribo West

17 March 2019 - 1:20am


Taribo West, a former Super Eagles defender, has revealed that a running mate to a governorship aspirant in Rivers State, asked him to join a cult before he would be given political position in the state.

The former defender said this in an interview with The Punch newspaper, published on Sunday.

While reacting to the question on if lack of educational qualification of sportspersons was the reason for their exclusion in sports administration, West said Nigeria is the only country where other professionals are encumbered with different criteria to ascend the peak of their careers, while uneducated people can freely become politicians.

He said: "In Nigeria, is it every politician that went to school? Some can’t even write their names. But it’s only in my country that those in positions use demonic criteria to keep people away. In other countries, if you are competent for the job, they will give it to you.

“I have been involved in the political system and things like this discouraged me from it. If it means I have to be a cultist to get a position, I’m not ready for that. I’ll prefer to drink my garri at home and be free with God. At the time I was in politics, a running mate to a governorship aspirant in my state (Rivers), brought me money and told me to join their cult. He told me if I wanted power, they would give me position, and that if I wanted money, I would be given. But he insisted that I must be involved in their cultism activities."

He also said he was available in the state to groom young footballers, but he was not given the opportunity to operate freely because he was not in a “caucus”.

West said: “I’ve made myself available for Rivers State for so many years. But if you are not their member, they won’t give you anything to do; they won’t involve you. You have to belong to a caucus; it’s at all levels. I have personal experiences, so I know. Nobody will look at you if you are not involved. They know that someone like me will disturb their activities, so they won’t get me involved. I’m the only big name in sports in my state that they don’t call for anything. So, it’s painful but hopefully, someday this will end.”

He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to elect a better Sports Minister who would pay equal attention to all the sports and not just football.

“I don’t think we’ve made progress in the area of sports. There’s more to sports than just football, but the focus of the sports ministry in recent times has been on football. Where is our basketball, athletics and other sports? I pity the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (Daniel Igali). Anytime he has an international event, you’ll find him on national television crying for funds. 

“Most of the retired athletes are suffering, some have been diagnosed with various diseases but there’s no medical team to help them from the ministry or anywhere else. So, when Buhari reorganises his cabinet, I want him to look at the sports world, make changes and reorganise the sports ministry. Sports is big business that the government can benefit from. The President [appoint] someone who knows about sports, someone who can bring about mass restructuring, stability and prosperity to that department.”

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Graphic Designer Treks For Buhari

17 March 2019 - 1:13am


Malam Sani Ahmed, a graphic designer and member of All Progressives Congress (APC) Solidarity Group, has begun trekking in celebration of the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the poll.

Sani trekked into Minna, the Niger State capital, on Saturday.

According to Daily Trust newspaper, Sani arrived the Minna City gate at about 10am after a sleepover at Pogo Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depot.

Sani, who is also a member of the APC Presidential Support Committee, set out from Abuja on foot on Wednesday through Niger en route Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states.

He had slept over in Lambata Pogo in the course of the journey before entering Minna on Saturday, where he presented his group’s messages to aides of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and the three APC senators-elect.

Speaking in Minna, he said: "This is to show that APC Solidarity Group identified with their performances and having emerged victorious at the just-concluded polls, we want to encourage them to do more."

He said he was particularly encouraged to undertake the trek, following the feat of the President in the polls, adding that the results of the election proved those he referred to as “the so-called latter day analysts” wrong.

Asked whether, like some supporters, he is embarking on the journey for some kind of compensation, Sani said he is a very contented fan, who has a thriving source of income.
 

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