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NORTHERN NIGERIA: THE PRETENCE PERSISTS

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NORTHERN NIGERIA: THE PRETENCE PERSISTS

By OKEYIKECHUKWU (EDIFYING ELUCIDATIONS)

A recent lengthy submission from the elder statesman, Ahmed Joda, rested on a telling conclusion: Northern Nigeria is not developing its human capital. It also does not have the time to do so anymore. Therefore, it is now ill-equipped to fit into either the knowledge-driven world of today or the new world of tomorrow. It needs at least 20 years to become significant in any way. But, rather than wake up to this benumbing fact, there is the pursuit of the illusion of dominance. Meanwhile the people of the region lack the skills for tomorrow, as majority of its youth lack everything that could make them part of a 21st century world. The major point in Joda’s intervention is that the triumphalism of cattle rearers whose illusion of invulnerability is fuelled and sustained by a national security framework that is skewed to promote insecurity in specific regions of the country will go burst sooner than later. Confiscation of the headship of institutions of state is not the same thing as creating a “replacement generation” that could be part of a 21st Century world.

Since most of the northern states have abandoned, ungoverned and even ungovernable spaces, its currently consumption-driven elite is really in no position to do anything, beyond maintaining a hollow swagger that is backed by nothing but the fact that they are living mostly in Abuja and floating on free state funds. Look more closely and you will be reminded of what was said of the House of Eli in the Bible: “Any ear that hears” the judgment of The Lord on that household will tingle.

I take us back to an article which appeared on this page on April 17, 2019, titled “As the North Goes Under.” It spoke of a visit to Zamfara State in 2014, which was “at once frightening, sobering and demoralising.” The then “Secretary to the State Government explained how he abandoned his farm and ranch because of cattle rustling and fear for his personal safety.” He confessed that “it was impossible to deploy law enforcement agents, even for himself, in any meaningful way” because they were mostly outnumbered, ill equipped and answerable to Abuja. Have matters improved in Zamfara State today, or gotten worse, in almost every state of the federation?

Just as the then Zamfara State governor complained that “the misfortunes” of his people centred around “derivation, as a lot of gold was mined in the state and carted away while his people were ravaged by poverty,” many other states are not faring any better. Look at Bauchi State, with its new MoU on service delivery with development partners. Is that what the state needs at the moment; with its pathetic human development index profile? Is it any different in Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Rivers and the others? Even Northern states with over 30% of their geographical space occupied by marauders have been drafting and implementing budgets and development projects covering these areas, where no one lives.

Elite myopia, leadership illiteracy and abysmal ignorance of both 21st Century leadership and cultural anthropology of the Nigerian state are working together here. Most of Nigeria’s poor are northerners, even as most high profile political and economically rewarding positions are held by Northerners. While the South laments the asphyxiation of the Nigerian security infrastructure by its exclusive Northern domination, the very north is being systematically wiped out. Unlike what happened during the mass massacre of Igbos in the 60s, no religion, ethnic, or political affiliation exonerates anyone today. For once, the North is actually giving the greatest evidence ever in its history of both political illiteracy and failure to follow the rules of self-preservation.

The former leather works sites of many Northern states, clothes factories and groundnut pyramids of Kano and Kaduna, are now like graveyards. Question: Are leaders of the North, and our leaders of various regions today generally, doing any form of costs/benefits analysis in their expenditures and use of public funds? I think not. No matter how generous you would like to be in evaluating the situation of the North today, you must come away with the painful conclusion that all might not be well with the people for a long time to come. The trouble is that the collateral damage moving from the North to other regions is now like a sickness unto death, thanks to Bola Ahmed Tinubu. To think that many political leaders who were celebrating their political dominance a few years ago shall henceforth live in full knowledge of what the Mighty Maytones, the reggae singers of the 70s, meant by “weeping and wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth.”

There is hardly any recent event (and I am talking about the last 15 years) in the home, or village, of most Northern politicians where the guests are not usually overwhelmed by at least 100 shabby looking youths, who are either prowling the vicinity, directly affronting guests, or raiding laid out tables. They are looking for nothing other than scraps of edibles and, not even a full meal. And the big men themselves are usually not embarrassed by the spectacle. And, by the way, Governor Ikpeazu of Abia State took his place in the pantheon of depraved leadership when he personally handed out wraps of Eba and a helping of poor quality soup as COVID-19 palliative to his people. In M.I. Okpara’s State; which was also once governed by Dee Sam Mbakwe? Ejikwa m Ogu o!

The dreadful disconnect between the 21st century and the Nigerian political religious, traditional and even academic elite is palpable. Has lasting school enrollment or academic performance improved in the North, in the last ten years, even as all the governors are announcing massive “investments” in education? Has the region shown any real increase in the number of people registering for SSCE, NECO and similar competitive examinations? If no, then an inevitable implosion will yet come. The current leadership culture of impunity portends ill. As “their people” come from Chad and Niger, their own youths are begging in the streets; or in the forests. Everywhere is turning into a no-man’s-land, where even revered traditional rulers and religious leaders are no longer safe. A backlash will come when the Sudanese, Chadians and North Africans will suddenly not be so welcome; especially after the Northerners discover that they are displaced in their very homes.

When foreigners are the ones with Nigerian ID cards in the North, when foreigners are voters in the North, when the total number of registered candidates for all competitive examinations from the 19 states of the north continues to stand much lower than that of one particular state in the South, when even the cattle business is now in the hands of roaming bands who have no conception of a brotherhood, the modern state, you will realize what the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, meant by his two books, “Fear and Trembling” and “The Sickness Unto Death.” By then it would already be too late.

As I said then, over a year ago, “…relentless, daily killings are going on in all the northern states, while everyone thinks that power resides in the north. … The northern political elite would seem to have been diligently digging its own grave for quite some time now, but without knowing it. They have allowed a new breed of wild youths, not sufficiently socialised even in line with the ‘Ranka dede’ culture to … to become dominant.

Drugs, poverty, motiveless criminality and rapacious daredevilry have chased all the northern big men to Abuja. But for how long will they be in exile? Is Abuja itself still safe? Are some high profile estates and exclusive neighbourhoods in Abuja not being quietly attacked these days?”

As property rates crash in the North, as investors flee, as local economies collapse, as re-desertification takes over many places, as farmlands and animal husbandry are abandoned, as the proceeds of crime become the new means for the unlettered, the threat to the children of the elite will multiply. The peace of mind of those who had the chance to make a difference but failed to do so will evaporate. The free-band society of cattle herders will collapse before their very eyes, as much of the North is taken over by “degenerate marauders who know nothing about modern statehood, law and order etc.” Is anyone thinking of what to expect in the “very near future”?

I need not repeat the old observation, that the late Abubakar Rimi would probably still be alive today if he had not encountered his ‘brothers’ on a lonely road in the dead of night.

He spoke to them in in Fulfulde and tried to remonstrate with them that it was beneath dignity of a Fulani man to be involved in their “line of work”. But they did not listen to him. They robbed him, instead, and, still angry that he was telling them how to live their lives, managed to spare his life after warning him to keep his preachment to himself . it was the trauma to Rimi’s existing heart condition, as well as the statement of his “brothers” that they were simply trying to “make a living” and feed their families, saw Rimi out of this world a few days later.

But the pretense persists, that “The North” is on course. The CAMA 2020, the Water Resources Bill, the suffocation of institutions of stage by lopsided appointments will deliver nothing lasting. To still conclude on the note of the said article of last year: “A region that has the highest allocation from oil revenue, the highest earnings from tax mostly paid by other regions, the highest earning from bunkering and the highest earnings from the illegal mining of gold and other natural resources, is ravaged by poverty, underdevelopment and a burgeoning population of unemployable youths. Is this right? Is this normal? Is anyone paying attention – as the North goes under?

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El-Rufai sacks 99 political appointees

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El-Rufai sacks 99 political appointees

Governor Nasir El Rufai has said Kaduna state has started implementing its rightsizing policy by disengaging 99 political appointees, but is yet to disengage any state civil servant.

The governor disclosed that only agencies connected to the local government system have disengaged staff and these include the 23 local government councils, SUBEB and the Primary Health Care Board.

El-Rufai who made the disclosure at a media chat with some Kaduna-based broadcast journalists on Thursday night, explained that the disengaged political appointees constitute 30% of political office holders.

‘’So far, 99 political appointees have lost their jobs but we have not commenced rightsizing civil servants. We want to be fair with regards to civil servants. We had earlier promised that before we reduce the size of the civil service, we will start with political appointees and we have done that,’’ he said.

The governor who spoke in Hausa, said that the rightsizing of civil servants will still go on as planned because of dwindling revenues that is accruing to the state government from the federation account.

El Rufai explained that the rightsizing commenced with political appointees because their details are clearly known, making it more straightforward to disengage them.

‘’However, civil servants with question marks on the veracity of their data have to be given a chance to clear the doubts before any action is taken on them,’’ he clarified.

The governor said that his government has employed 11,000 more workers in the health sector, Kaduna State University as well as primary and secondary school teachers across the state.

The governor disclosed that it is a fallacy to allege that the salaries of political appointees account for the bloated personnel cost of Kaduna State Government.

‘’In March 2021, the salaries of these political appointees amounted to N259 million , while civil servants were paid N3.13 billion, aside from costs related to state contributions to pension, accrued rights and other personnel costs. So, it is false to insinuate that political appointees are the ones that guzzle most of the state’s resources,’’ he said.

Justifying the rightsizing of the public service, he said that all states and the federal government are affected by this shortfall of revenue and some states have even reverted to paying the old monthly minimum wage of N18,000.

‘’Kaduna State cannot continue to use 84% to 96% of our revenues to pay salaries of less than 1% of the population. The rest of our people, all 99% of them, need better schools, hospitals, water supply, roads, markets and support for agriculture to make a living outside government,’’ he said.

The governor however promised that Kaduna state will not reverse the N30,000 minimum wage that it has started paying.

“We are the first government, federal or state, to pay the minimum wage. We will retain the minimum wage of N30,000 and the consequential adjustments that gave most of our civil servants a 66% salary increase. We will also retain the minimum pension of N30,000 monthly.

“The unified Local Government Service continues to pay the minimum wage, even though they varied the consequential adjustments for their workers below the level for state civil servants,’’ he added.

The governor also promised that the state will still fund free education from primary 1 to the SS3, adding that ‘’we have directed our Ministry of Education to find ways of ensuring that we sponsor students for WAEC exams, the same way that we sponsor them for NECO. ‘’

El Rufai emphasized that basic education is a priority for Kaduna State Government because ‘’we see it as the bedrock for equality of opportunity.’’

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LEKKI SHOOTINGS: SANWO-OLU HAS LOST CREDIBILITY, SAYS FSD

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LEKKI SHOOTINGS: SANWO-OLU HAS LOST CREDIBILITY, SAYS FSD

By Oladimeji Ramon

A group, the Federal Social Democrats, says the credibility and integrity of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have been diminished by the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20.

According to the group, the Lekki incident has eroded the admiration that Sanwo-Olu won with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group, in statement on Sunday signed on its behalf by Olutola Mobolurin, also condemned the harassment of #EndSARS protest leaders through the freezing of their bank accounts and stopping them from travelling outside the country.

The FSD’s statement was titled, ‘Statement by the Federal Social Democrats On the #EndSARS Movement and Violence in the Wake of Lekki Shootings.’

The group said, “Governor Sanwo-Olu, who before now has been credited with responsible and energetic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has by this one act lost his credibility and integrity for many. He has a big task in regaining the confidence of the public and youths; his credibility gap surrounding what happened at the Lekki Toll Plaza is not helped by the insensitive bluster of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the governor’s residence stating that those who were injured and presumably those who died had questions to answer.”

Though the group condemned the destruction of public assets and looting that trailed the shootings at the Lekki tollgate, it said the mayhem pointed to the alienation of a large number of youths from society by government.

It said, “The so-called hoodlums are the youths that have been denied any stake in society by the self-dealing and state capture that have characterised governance over the last 30 years. Millions of our youths have been uneducated, unemployable and with no meaningful social safety net. Even for the millions who are educated and skilled, long-term unemployment has been their experience in the Nigerian prebendal political economy that serves primarily the interests of public office holders and their cronies.

“Some of the ‘hoodlums’ responsible for the trashing of Lagos are the youths and ‘the toughies’ that many politicians have over the years employed to subvert the democratic process through intimidation of voters and perpetration of violence during elections.”

The group said the organisers of the #EndSARS protests deserved commendation for the resourcefulness, transparency and accountability which they demonstrated.

The group condemned “the growing reports of compilation of names of the assumed leaders and facilitators of the protests for government reprisals.”

It said, “Those that are being targeted are reportedly being prevented from travelling outside Nigeria while accounts of some have been frozen. This is hardly the hallmark of a democratic government that is interested in dialoguing with the youths or learning positive lessons from the #EndSARS protests. It is also a violation of the spirit of government’s acceptance of the 5 for 5 agenda. The President should stop all these acts of witch-hunt.”

The FSD solicited support for the Lagos State Government to rebuild and replace the vandalised public assets.

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⛔⛔⭐⭐⭐I NEARLY CRIED YESTERDAY WHEN I HEARD WHAT HAPPEN AT FEGGE POLICE STATION AND HOW THE YOUTH RESPONDED TO DPO RABIU GARBA⭐⭐⭐⛔⛔

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⛔⛔⭐⭐⭐I NEARLY CRIED YESTERDAY WHEN I HEARD WHAT HAPPEN AT FEGGE POLICE STATION AND HOW THE YOUTH RESPONDED TO DPO RABIU GARBA⭐⭐⭐⛔⛔

A man who never put tribalism, religion or differences in his work…. True to his calling to serve our nation without influence of any politician. Not an Igbo man but he speaks Igbo in a way you will be mesmerized and full of laughter whenever he speaks.. He will tell you “Nwannah why disobeying the law?”
People say police is not your friend but in this man I disagree with that notion. In him, i immensely believe that police is a friend when you meet the good type…. The person I am talking about is my Honorable CSP. RABIU GARBA, the DPO of Fegge Police Station.

Yesterday the youth was rampaging looking for Police Station to burn down. When they troop to his Fegge Police Station with gallons of fuel and weapons, most of his men was grip with fear, Behold !, when he came out, the Chants of the angry youths Change from
” We no go agree oh we no go agree oh” to
“DPO Garba you be our friend,
DPO Garba You be our man”

He addressed then properly, lectured them all and changed their perspective towards embracing calmness.. If you know him well you will know he can lecture very well from every angles of courses, law to Biology , physics to Science, religion to culture, he is the master of all… We fondly call him Professor Rabiu, Onye Nkuzi. Tears nearly fall from my eyes, tears of Joy and appreciation of a good man still serving and existing in Police.

This is a Police man i have ever see who believe that hardworking pays. He is a police man and a Farmer as well. He is a Police man and a Civil Engineer. He is a Police man and a Lecturer as well…

To me, I am encouraging all police men and woman to emulate this Young man and learn from his Public relation skill. Because I strongly believe Public relationship should be practiced to serve the public interest, to develop mutual understanding between organizations, the neighborhood and their publics.

As a Psychologist, i have noticed that without publicity there can be no public support, and without public support every nation must decay.”

DPO Rabiu Garba we all know was the man who single handedly build a Borehole water for the people of Fegge Where his station is situated without donations from the public. If i lie verify from anyone you know living in fegge.

He also Organized Sports event for the youth at fegge Stadium where he normally engaged them in Table Tenis playing competition after work.. He walks among all without gun, knife or tear gas because he does his work diligently without corruption. So no fear of the mob.

He attends many church events he is been invited for around onitsha which shows his sense of unity.

When police do bad we mock them when we see one doing good pls my brothers and sister let us encourage that one as to lift his or her spirit to do more because ndi ba anyi is na Etoo dike na nkem omeru omekwa ozo….

DPO Rabiu Garba anyi Oha nile. No wonder people once cried when you wanted to leave to another Station. How i wish we have thousands of police men and women like you, the Police institution would have been so harmonized…..keep up the good work. Good market sells itself in the market…

No wonder Odumeje cherish you so much.

Thank you once again for the way you handled the youth matter yesterday which resulted to zero casualties at Fegge District…

Honourable Ozoigbondu na Umuoji. ( Odoakpa ward 7 Youth Mobilizer and Organizer)

Pls read and Share to appreciate a good work.

EndSARS #uprising #Lekkitollgate #policebrutalityawareness #PoliceReform #anambra #onitsha #DPO #Ndigbo #hausa #yoruba #IgboAmaka #channelstv #AITLIVE #AriseNews #NTA #abcnews

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