My Take Away Rice On The Issue Of Firdaus Hijab: Hypocrisy And Unfaced Reality By Muhammed Aliyu Muhammed

Muhammed Aliyu Muhammed


Now alot has been said about this issue, however I deem it fit to unveil some vied issues for determination.

1. Firdaus is a student of Nigeria Law School.
2. She has consented to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct.(RPC) and other laws regulating legal practitioner and Student.Volunti *Non fit Injuria*

3. Most writers put a sparkling Sword on the Body of Benchers (BOB), but in which in reality BOB knows nothing about what was happening at the screening point for new aspirants. Their sole duty is to call to Bar those sited in the hall whom are *fit and proper*.

4. In Nigeria Law school,we have 3 compulsory dinner, how did she attend the two with her hijab on?
5. In 2010, Some groups of Ladies make an application for the use of a small cap which was granted,what happened to such procedure now?

Now alot of attention has been drown to this given it an undue relevance into our scared Bar and laymen alike whom Don’t even know a penny about law sending out words to our BOB’s whom knows nothing about it because she is not before them for admission in to the scared Bar.
She could have learned from the case of Kayode whom it’s has been thrown into the judicial cemetery for a massive uncelebrated judicial burial.(her’s won’t be different)

Has she forgotten that it’s Allah’s himself that said ” Nothing is an offence done under the influence of alcohol ( involuntary), mental diease of the mind, things done under force or pressure…. This is just exturpi causa non oritio actio.

Just as Shiek postulated;

In the circumstance, the decision of the Body of Benchers to refuse faith-based and other unapproved dress codes admittance to the Nigerian Bar (backed by s. 4(1) LPA which empowers the body to determine incidents of good character requisite for admittance to the Nigerian Bar) is a “law reasonably justifiable in a democratic society in the interest of public policy” within the meaning of s. 45(1)(a) of the Constitution, and therefore cannot be invalidated on the basis of s. 38(1) which is subject to the provisions of s. 45(1)(a) thereof.

On the second leg, we submit that the rights accruing to a person under s. 38(1) are validly derogable from if it is in the interest of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons. This is the provision of s. 45(1)(b) of the Constitution. We had shown that the rights guaranteed under s. 38(1) avail not only the lady refused admittance to the Nigerian Bar for her conduct, but also the Body of Benchers as well. We had also shown that the Body of Benchers is entitled under s. 4 LPA to determine incidents of “good character” requisite for admittance to the Nigerian Bar; and that in the exercise of that entitlement, the Body of Benchers issued the “no faith-based or other unapproved dress code” rule in regard to admittance to the Nigerian Bar. In the circumstance, the generic rights of the lady in question cannot be asserted to the detriment of an express entitlement of the Body of Benchers to determine (in exertion of its rights to freedom of thought under s. 38 and power to determine good conduct for call to the Nigerian Bar under *S.4*LPA) the appropriate dress code for admittance to the Nigerian Bar. S. 45(1)(b) clearly allows a derogation from the said lady’s rights for the purpose of protection of another person’s rights – in this case the rights of the Body of Benchers.

Does the decision of the Body of Benchers to disallow faith-based or other unapproved regalia for call to bar ceremony constitute discrimination on account of religion?

Our simple answer to this question is that it does not. The provisions of s. 42(1)(a) of the Constitution are clear on the point that a disability to which any person is subjected on account of religion would ONLY constitute discrimination if those same disabilities are NOT extended to adherents of other religious beliefs. S. 42(1)(a) provides that a citizen of Nigeria of a particular religion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person, be subjected to either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other religions are NOT made subject. This is clearly not the case here as the “no faith-based or other unapproved dress code” rule of the Body of Benchers is applied to ALL aspirants to the Nigerian Bar, regardless of their religious beliefs or inclinations.

Indeed, it would amount to discrimination of adherents of other religious beliefs if a female Muslim aspirant to the Bar is allowed to wear her hijab underneath her wig and gown for her call to bar ceremony and say, a female Aladura aspirant to the Bar is not allowed to appear bare-footed wearing her white flowing gown and fluffed head cover band beneath her wig and gown for her call to bar ceremony. S. 42(1)(b) of the Constitution is instructive on the point. It provides that a citizen of Nigeria of a particular religion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person, be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is NOT accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other religions.

Conclusion

We have shown that the right guaranteed under *S*. *38* is not limited to freedom of religion, it also extends to freedom of thought and conscience which is available to any person in Nigeria – whether natural or artificial; hence the rights under that section accrue to both the Body of Benchers as an entity and the lady denied admittance to the Nigerian Bar by the body for her unruly conduct. We have also shown that those rights are not absolute and may be derogated from under s. 45 in the interest of public policy or for the purpose of protection of the rights of other persons. We further showed that an administrative decision subjecting a person of a particular religious inclination to disabilities which are extended to adherents of other religious beliefs CANNOT amount to discrimination under s. 42.

In the circumstance, we submit that the Body of Benchers was beyond reproach when it denied admittance to the Nigerian Bar to a lady who by her conduct, did not satisfy the body’s laid down indices for “good character” requisite for admittance to the Nigerian Bar under s. 4 LPA. And that in any case, the decision cannot amount to a breach of the lady’s constitutional rights to freedom of religion as it is now settled law that (a) a person who willingly joins a voluntary association cannot complain of the merits of its internal rules for the regulation of its members as voluntary associations have the right to lay down their own decisions and procedures even if they are unreasonable; the only recourse an aggrieved member has in such circumstance is to quit membership of the association (see *Mbanefo v Molokwu (2014) LPELR-22257(SC)), and (b) once a person makes the choice to study and practice law and thereby place his name on the roll of honour of belonging to the profession, he stands bound by the internal rules and regulations of the legal profession. (See *Chinwo v Owhonda (2008) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1074) 341, 36*.)

I rest my case, notwithstanding *I Muhammed Aliyu Muhammed also stand with the BODY OF BENCHERS*.




Muhammed Aliyu Muhammed writes from the Faculty Of Law, University Of Jos, Plateau State and can be reached via mmaliyu0@gmail.com

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#PDPConvention2017: Full List Of Newly Elected Officials.

Here is the list of winners as declared by former Benue State Governor, Mr Gabriel Suswam, who served as chairman of the electoral committee:

1. National Chairman – Uche Secondus (Rivers, South-South).

2. Deputy National Chairman, South – Yemi Akinwonmi (Ogun, South West); unopposed.

3. Deputy National Chairman, North – Senator Gamawa Babawo Garba (Bauchi, North East); defeated six others.

4. National Secretary – Senator Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri (Katsina, North-West); defeated others

5. Deputy National Secretary – Emmanuel Agbo (Benue, North Central); defeated four others

6. National Organising Secretary – Austin Akobundu (Abia, South East); defeated two others

7. Deputy National Organising Secretary – Hassan Yakubu (Nasarawa, North Central); unopposed

8. National Publicity Secretary – Kola Ologbondiyan (Kogi, North Central); defeated four others

9. Deputy National Publicity Secretary – Diran Odeyemi (Osun, South West); defeated two others

10. National Financial Secretary – Abdullahi Husseini Maibasara (Niger, North Central)

11. Deputy National Financial Secretary – Irona Alphonsus Gerald (Imo, South-East); defeated on contestant

12. National Treasurer – Aribisala Adewale (Ekiti, South-West); unopposed

13. Deputy National Treasurer – Wada Masu (Kano, North West); defeated one contestant

14. Deputy National Auditor – Miss Amina Arong (Cross River, South-South); unopposed

15. National Auditor – Adamu Mustafa (Yobe, North East); unopposed

16. National Women Leader Mariya Waziri (Kebbi, North West); defeated one contestant.

17. Deputy National Women Leader – Umoru Hadizat (Edo, South-South); defeated three others.

18. National Youth Leader Udeh Okoye (Enugu State, South East); defeated three others.

19. Deputy National Youth Leader – Umar Babangida Maina (Adamawa, North East); defeated Yahaya Salisu

20. National Legal Adviser – Emmanuel Enoidem (Akwa Ibom, South-South); defeated two others.

21. Deputy National Legal Adviser – Ahmed Bello Liman (Sokoto, North West); Unopposed.

Nine candidates had been in the National Chairmanship race as of Friday evening, seven from the South West and two – Secondus and Dokpesi – from the South-South.

Six of the candidates from the South-West, however, pulled out of the race starting late on Friday with a former National Deputy Chairman of the party, Bode George.

Before the election commenced, Professor Adeniran became the sole candidate from the South West.

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#EndSARS Press Release: IGP Orders Immediate Re-organization Of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Across The Country.

 

The Nigeria Police Force has observed the recent trends of event in the Social Media on the#ENDSARSNOW and the controversy being generated by the innuendos from the allegations and other misconceptions as it concerns the Operational roles and activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a detachment of the Nigeria Police Force.



2.     Undoubtedly, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have been doing very well in fighting violent crimes such as Armed Robbery, Kidnappings and Cattle Rustling in the country in the recent time and this has resulted in drastic reduction of incidents of the mentioned violent crimes nationwide.



3.     However, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM, mni concerned with public interest and the need to reposition the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for more efficiency and effective service delivery to all Nigerians and ensure that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operates based on International Core Value of Policing with integrity and make sure the rule of law prevails in the operations  and activities of the outfit, the IGP has directed the immediate re-organization of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) nationwide and instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of the Special Anti Robbery Squad across the country by the IGP X-Squad of the Force.



4.     In the new arrangement, a Commissioner of Police is now the overall head of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.



5.     The Police Zonal Commands, State Commands and Divisions will continue to operate anti-crime units/sections, crime prevention and control squads and teams imperative to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities in their Area of Responsibilities, and other crack squads necessary to sustain law and order and protection of life and properties in their Area of responsibilities (AOR).



6.     Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) will now exist and operate in the State and Zonal Commands under the Commissioner of Police (F-SARS) at the Force Headquarters.             A Federal SARS Commander of a Rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of FSARS in State and Zonal Commands across the Country. All Commissioners of Police have been directed by the Inspector General of Police to comply with this directive with immediate effect and warn their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives. The IGP X-Squad has been mandated to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance and apprehend any erring police officer.

7.     Furthermore, a new training program to be organized by the Force in collaboration with some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local and International NGOs, and other Human Rights Organizations on core Police Duties, Observant of Human Rights and Handling, Care and Custody of Suspects have been directed by the Inspector General of Police for all Federal SARS personnel nationwide with immediate effect.


8.     However, aggrieved members of the public who have any complaint in the past or present of violation of their rights by any Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) personnel anywhere in the country are to report through any of the following channels for investigation and further actions.

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Pendulum: One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar By Dele Momodu.

Dele Momodu


Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room.  He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am  one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell

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​Vale Of Tears In Africa By Adeoye Adetoyese.

Adeoye Adetoyese

The problem of violence clearly still plagues Africa. Africans can not continue to kill their fellow Africans, many Nigerians have been killed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa, likewise, many Nigerians and other black Africans have been killed extra-judicially in Libya of late, and it is so sad that this is happening on African soil. 

In a report made by a Nigerian newspaper (vanguard news)  on April 16, 2017, it was reported that “Libya is the main gateway for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea, with more than 150,000 people making the crossing in each of the past three years. So far this year an estimated 26,886 migrants have crossed to Italy, over 7,000 more than during the same period in 2016. More than 600 are known to have died at sea, while an unknown number perish during their journey north through the desert”. As it is right now, thousands of Nigerians, Ghanaians, and migrants from other countries of Africa such as Senegal and Sierra Leones,  are being incarcerated in Libyan prisons, being held for ransom, forced labour or sexual exploitation with little or no hope of freedom.

In our bid to increase the fortune of Africa and achieve sustainable peace and social justice. We must rise up against this animalistic and shameful act. As widely spread, that Nigerians and other black Africans are constantly being bombarded with hostility and aggression across Libya and South Africa, whatever may have been the situation, these attacks represents a descent into the pit of hell, it is highly sardonic, disheartened and satirical. On this note, it is high time we begin to  resolve our differences in a peaceful manner rather than using violent manner. I further reiterate in strong terms that Africa leaders should tender pragmatic solutions to permanently nip in the bud this dehumanizing action, before it becomes more intractable.

Comrd Adeoye Adetoyese is a postgraduate student of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and can be reach via +2348114735242 and adeoyeadetoyese@yahoo.com

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#Zimbabwe: Full Text Of Mugabe’s Address To The Nation.

Robert Mugabe

Read his speech below.

“Fellow Zimbabweans, I address you tonight on the back of a meeting I held today with the nation’s security forces command element.

This meeting which was facilitated by a mediating team… followed an operation mounted by the Zimbabwean Defence Forces in the week that has gone by, and which was triggered by concerns from their reading of the state of affairs in our country and in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I as the President of Zimbabwe and as their Commander in Chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people.

As I address you I am also aware of a whole range of concerns which have come from you all as citizens of our great country and which deserve our untrammelled attention.

Today’s meeting with the command element has underscored the need for us to collectively start processes that return our nation to normalcy so that all our people can go about their business unhindered in an environment of perfect peace and security assured that the law and order prevail as before and endure well into the future.

If there is any one observation we have made and drawn from events of the last week it is the unshakable pedestal upon which rests our state of peace and law and order, amply indicating that as Zimbabweans we are generally a peaceably disposed people and with a given-ness to express our grievances and to resolve our differences ourselves and with a level of dignity and restraint so rare to many other nations. This is to be admired. Indeed such traits must form the path of our national character and personality. Yes, a veritable resource we summon and draw upon in times of vicissitudes.

The operation I have alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order, nor was it a challenge to my authority as head of state and government, not even as commander in chief of the Zimbabwean Defence Forces. To the man, the commend element remained respectful and comported themselves with diktats and mores of constitutionalism.

True, a few incidents may have occurred here and there but they are being corrected. I am happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional. Even happier for me and arising from today’s meeting is a strong sense of collegiality and comradeship now binding the various arms of our security establishment. This should redound to greater peace and offer an abiding sense of security in communities and in our entire nation.

Among the issues discussed is that relating to our economy, which as we all know is going through a difficult patch. Of greater concern to our commanders are the well-founded fears that the lack of unity and commonness of purpose in both party and government was translating into perceptions of inattentiveness to the economy. Open public spats between officials in the party and government exacerbated by multiple conflicting messages from both the party and government made the criticisms levelled at us inescapable.

Amidst all this, flagship projects already adopted by government stood stalled or mired in needless controversies. All this needs to stop as we inaugurate a new work culture and pace which will show a strong sense of purpose and commitment to turning around our economy in terms of our policies. The government remains committed to improving the social and material conditions of the people. Government will soon unveil an entrepreneurial skills and business development program which will empower and unleash gainful projects at our growth points and in rural areas.”

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Pendulum: Will The Donald Dukes of Nigeria Ever Get a Chance? By Dele Momodu

Chief Dele Momodu


Fellow Nigerians, I finally caught up, and had a most productive meeting, with one of my favourite Nigerian leaders, Donald Duke, in Lagos last weekend. I have steadfastly remained his fan long after he left power ten years ago as Governor of Cross River State. Not even his most fastidious and vociferous critic would ever suggest that he did not leave a monumental mark in that fortunate State. It remains a mystery why, and how, Donald Duke, was abandoned, and wasted, by his Party, PDP, and nay Nigeria. I have written endlessly, and campaigned feverishly, that Nigeria desperately, and urgently, needs many leaders in the mould of Donald Duke. So, it was a pleasure not only meeting up with him again but having time to discuss a topic we both fervently and passionately believe in, Nigeria.

I do not know if Donald Duke is a saint, since we seem to be obsessed with seeking, and finding, angels from heaven to lead us, but I’m very certain that Donald Duke would have performed and delivered once more. Successful and progressive nations are not governed by saints but by performers with uncommon vision, zeal and the determination to succeed where others failed. This handsome, charming, charismatic, cosmopolitan, suave, visionary, audacious and cerebral gentleman, has so much to remind us of a Barack Obama. It is one of those cruel ironies that many of those Nigerian youths who shout the loudest about wanting enduring change never remembered to fight for the emergence of the Donald Dukes of this world. They preferred to fight based on ethnicity, religion and raw cash, the very primordial things that have kept us, both, down and extremely backward.

I’m writing this article on a flight from Dubai to London, and there is no better time to get inspired and simultaneously angered about the disgraceful and embarrassing state of things in Nigeria. I have since come to the conclusion that Nigeria is in this peculiar mess because we have consistently and stubbornly continued to do and repeat the same nonsense and rubbish while expecting a miraculous change. Truth be told, a leader can never give or deliver what he does not possess. A leader can only be fired up by the limits of his education, background, worldview, experience and exposure. Age is also a factor, a man who made a mess of important assignments in his prime is not likely to make a success of it when he has become totally weak and dim-witted. It is not his fault but the natural law of diminishing returns. This is the difference between Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe. While Mandela surrounded himself with the brightest whiz-kids to shore up whatever shortcomings he had, having been out of circulation for 27 odd years, Mugabe, on the contrary remained the omnipotent and all-knowing leader even in his twilight years. This Messianic complex is dangerously perfidious.

It was with this background in mind that I was truly elated when Donald Duke accepted the invitation to meet me for a private session. The first thing that struck me on his arrival was his very good looks. Also, his confidence and poise. And, of course, as our conversation progressed, his sharp brains and wits. I had no doubt in my mind that Nigeria has been haemorrhaging to death because of our self-immolating lack of respect for the likes of Donald Duke and our preference for enthroning mediocrity. If we made mistakes in the past, must we continue to wallow in our foolhardiness? This was my starting point with Donald Duke.

“Oga, thank you for honouring my invitation at such short notice Sir. You know I have been your self-appointed Campaign Manager all these years. It is so wonderful to have you here finally, one on one…” I stated. “I cannot thank you enough Dele for keeping faith with me without seeing me. I cannot say we’ve been close friends, yet you mentioned me regularly in your column and I’m always wondering what I have done to deserve this honour from you…” he responded.

I told him how much I was fascinated by his incredible work in Cross River State, especially, how Calabar was fast becoming the Dubai of Nigeria. I was not unaware that his critics often lampooned him as wasting resources on building a beautiful State while his people languished in squalid conditions. But I knew such arguments came from people of limited minds and dreams. The living conditions of a people will never improve unless and until leaders learn to create huge dreams and gigantic activities that would ultimately generate jobs and opportunities. Donald Duke looked a bit pensive. “You won’t believe this; I was totally disappointed to hear supposedly knowledgeable people utter such words like ‘na Dubai we go chop’? It is this sort of warped mentality that has kept us where we have found ourselves… Lack of big dreams… Lack of faith in our abilities to build our own big cities and compete against the greatest nations… Nigerians are naturally brilliant, and we have the population to give us the power and influence of China, but we are not ready to change our ways of doing things…” he said, with sorrow in his eyes.

This dovetailed to my most important question: “Will you run the Presidential race?” He paused for a moment, measuring his thoughts and probably his choice of words. “Dele, do you want to hear the truth? I seriously want to run but my party, PDP, would have to decide on many things… Our party is well-positioned to win the next election if we can change our style a bit and beat APC at its own game. We must take advantage and benefit from our experience since 1999. Despite our apparent mistakes, Nigerians can now compare and contrast us with APC. What do we need to win the next elections? We must go to the field with our best candidates. We must learn from how we select our footballers. No one cares where you come from. Can you play well? Pronto. We must show clearly that we are more democratic. Zoning is good, but it has not worked well in Nigeria. The time has come to unleash the best brains from every part of Nigeria. We must galvanise our youths. They will never follow or support us if we can’t show how we are different and far better than APC…”

I told him how much I detest the idea of zoning and the way we’ve all accepted this unconstitutional act, unquestionably and horribly, like victims of mass hypnotism. I do not mind the principle of Federal Character in certain appointments and promotions, but it has no place whatsoever in elective office. Even Federal Character must be based on sound merit. No one should ever be appointed or promoted only because of tribe or religion. No student should be admitted or promoted if he cannot meet minimum requirements. We have now seen the result of promoting mediocrity, hypocrisy and laziness in Kaduna State where Governor Nasir El Rufai has practically guillotined the teaching careers of about 20,000 hopelessly and ridiculously dull teachers.

Zoning is undoubtedly one of the biggest scams in Nigeria. It was forced on us by some control freaks in order to direct and manipulate the system in perpetuity. If we break it down, we’ll see that it has favoured some states and regions more than the others, while some are at serious disadvantage. Nigeria has been led to date by government heads as follows: Tafawa Balewa (Bauchi, Moslem for 6 years) jointly with Nnamdi Azikiwe (Onitsha, Christian for 6 years), Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi (Umuahia, Christian for 6 months), Yakubu Gowon (Lur, Christian for 9 years), Murtala Muhammed (Kano, Moslem for 6 months), Olusegun Obasanjo (Abeokuta, Christian, two stints, for 3 years and 8 years respectively, totalling 11 years), Shehu Shagari (Sokoto, Moslem for 4 years and a few months), Muhammadu Buhari (Katsina, Moslem (two stints, for 20 months and currently 2 and a half years respectively, totalling over 4 years and counting), Ibrahim Babangida (Minna, Moslem for 8 years) Ernest Shonekan (Abeokuta, Christian for almost 3 months) Sani Abacha (Kano, Moslem for almost 5 years), Abdulsalami Abubakar (Minna, Moslem for about one year), Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (Katsina, Moslem for almost three years) and Goodluck Jonathan (Otuoke, Christian for 5 years). More significantly the North has held power for 34 years and shared power as the stronger of two heads for six years, whilst the South has held power for 17 years and shared power as the weaker of two heads for 6 years. Using religion, Christians have held power with 25 years to the Moslems’ 32 years. So much for zoning!

Furthermore, in reality, if zoning was a sincere and precise formula, Buhari should be seen to be completing Yar’Adua’s, and thus, the North’s, second term. After all, Yar’Adua spent three years in office before he died. If APC or PDP fields another Northerner and either manages to win, is that person going to serve one or two terms? Whichever way you look at it, those insisting the North must produce the next President are thus being clever by half. In fact, the South South has the right to insist Jonathan or someone from his zone should come back to complete their own second term. Just imagine such confusion and conundrum!
What is worse, zoning has never been of immense benefit to Nigeria or its utmost beneficiaries. Katsina has produced two Heads of State on three different occasions (Buhari, Yar’Adua and Buhari again).  Kano has produced two (Murtala Muhammed and Sani Abacha). Minna has produced two (Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar). Abeokuta has produced two, also on three different occasions (Obasanjo, Shonekan and Obasanjo again). Have their sons turned their cities or States into Eldorado? The answer is a resounding No!

Donald Duke agreed with me that Nigeria needs to be reconfigured and repositioned urgently. We are respected globally for our brilliance, intellect, innovativeness and boundless energy, but we parade some of the worst leaders on planet earth and the global community wonders how and why we allow the dregs of our society to represent us. Duke believes things might change for the better if we don’t give up. He said there are times he feels frustrated about the Nigerian situation but wakes up the next day re-energised seeing the potentials instead of the horrendous challenges and difficulties. He said he would appeal to members of his Party not to waste this unique opportunity because history would not forgive them if Nigeria collapses so miserably.

He elaborated extensively on his vision for Nigeria. He said rebuilding Nigeria is not going to take rocket science but vision, passion and total commitment to the ideals of civilisation. According to him, this cannot be achieved if we keep Nigeria perpetually in the hands of those who play Nigeria like Russian Roulette. For such leaders, there is no hurry or any sense of urgency to develop. Theirs is to attain power by crooked means, warm the seats and quit without any tangible achievement. Nigerians seem comfortable in this ‘game of thrones’ that forces them to accept their bizarre existence as if it were God-ordained.  We all complain but still do nothing to correct these foolish anomalies.

How hopeful is he that he, or people of his ilk and pedigree, may emerge in the next dispensation? His response was very calm and sober. “If I can get the ticket of my Party, I’m certain that with the support of our members and the youths of Nigeria yearning for urgent restoration of hope, we shall defeat APC. I’m certain Nigerians are anxiously waiting for a leader with proven record of vigour and excellence. They will come out en masse to vote if they see such a candidate. And I promise to join hands with my Party to free Nigeria permanently from recession, oppression and depression. We know what to do to unlock the potentials of our vibrant youths and we possess the most important gift of all, the trust in our ability to take development to every part of our great country and attract our most fertile minds back home from all over the world. Our international friends are also waiting to support the right leadership when they see one. It would be the dawn of a new era in Nigeria…” I couldn’t help but shout a loud Amen to that, as he stood up to take his exit.

I followed him to his car and I felt proud and privileged knowing that such a leader is available if ever we need him and are ready to avail ourselves of his quality services. The ball is in our court.

Let’s keep the conversation flowing as I search and serve you more leaders soon.

God bless Nigeria.

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