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Aliko Dangote’s Costly Libido Mess | By Festus Adedayo

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How can a man fight very difficult life battles, vanquish them all, be a household name in the world as a result of his handsome laurels in business and then, all of a sudden, get picked up effortlessly on the bed by women as they do snails in farm furrows? This is the question on the lips of the world as Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, confronts his deconstruction by some self-confessed mistresses Autumn Spikes and Bea Lewis.

This Dangote costly mess on cozy beds has spiked globally, diverting riveting attention to the Kano-born business dinosaur. Lewis claimed she had been Aliko’s mistress for ten years. World’s attention then shifted from Aliko’s multiple billions, his unassuming simplicity and his world class monstrous  refinery, to the narrative of licit or illicit romance. Lewis had, in January this year, shared photographs of their tryst on her Instagram handle. An American restaurateur, she alleged that Aliko broke her heart. Using the metaphor of broken earthenware, she said the billionaire broke her fragile heart into more than a thousand fragments.

To convince Doubting Thomases who might have controverted her claims that she was talking about same boardroom dinosaur, Aliko, Lewis shared photographs of her and Dangote in a dalliance. The lady even went a step further to share with the world what she called her derivables from the tryst.

Then another lady hopped on the rendezvous. Identified as Autumn Spikes, an African American, she posted a video that went viral of her and Dangote. The clip revealed Africa’s richest man lying on the same couch down by his voluptuous nemesis and a part of his buttocks shyly winking to the world.

In further public interventions by Spikes, it became obvious that the video was a mere “Statement of the Problem,” an attempt to dig a fertile ground, where to situate an ultimate plan to conveniently squeeze cash from Africa’s richest billionaire. Last Thursday, in another post from her handle, @allounda1, Spikes escalated the narrative. Therein, she alleged that Dangote had insulted her by offering a mere $15,000, as well as another $2,500 monthly to shut her mouth, so as not to turn the affair into a global love snafu. Rather than these offers, however, to keep the mess off the streets, she said she was demanding a princely sum of $5 million before she could enter a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that Dangote demanded.

An acclaimed British professor was once quoted to have said that all the libraries in the world put together do not smell as sweetly as the scent of a woman’s groin. Is this why great men in the world put their greatness in the scabbard when engaged in appropriate or inappropriate relationship with women? Perhaps this is why men, on sighting women, engage in actions they would otherwise never have if they were in possession of their senses? So, is there a mechanism in man-woman interface that is filled with an unspoken and even unknown mesmerism and chemistry? What is it about women that the greatest of all men crumble at the sight and feel  of their allure? Why do men whose brains have taken to the top seem to warehouse such brains while in romance with women, thereby making them easy prey or prisoner in-between the succulence of  the female anatomy?  Are women’s brains superior to men’s and reason why French call them the destructive female, femmes fatale?

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Whatever Aliko went through or is going through in the hands of Spikes and Lewis is the usual story that so many great men went/go through in the hands of women. It only comes in different dimensions. Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman General and statesman, reputed to be a major force who played critical roles in the demise of the Roman Republic, as well as the rise of the Roman Empire, also could not resist the thighs of Cleopatra. Daughter of Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra became the Pharaoh after her father’s demise. She was reputed to be a very beautiful woman and specifically described as “a woman of surpassing beauty” with a “charming voice” by Cassius. More than this, Cleopatra was a diplomat imbued with great intellectual prowess, a mathematician and was noted to be astounding for her ability to speak nine languages. At first sight, Cleopatra ogled and desired the Great Caesar and was determined to get him. One day, she organized for a cruise on the Nile River to be undertaken by her and Caesar, in her posh royal barge. By the time they both returned to Alexandria, Cleopatra was pregnant with Caesar’s child who was later named Caesarion.

The narrative of the biblical man of valour Samson, plucked off his prowess by Delilah like a chicken, has been an example over the centuries used to exemplify how powerful men in history are easily captured by women. It is said that women are men’s easiest weak link through which they can be captured and emasculated.

In my quest for an understanding of the dissembling role women played in the lives of powerful men in African history, I spoke with the Iku Baba Yeye, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, yesterday. Alaafin took his time to narrate to me the story of that infamous man in Old Oyo Empire, notorious for unbridled wickedness, Bashorun Gaa. Though I had always cited this story to back up earlier submissions, I couldn’t resist retelling the Alaafin’s variant of it. In it, Gaa was captured through a young lady called Agbonin, though not directly through his libidinous craving.

Being the Old Oyo Empire’s prime minister and lord marshal in the 16th century, Gaa stood in that position from 1750–1774 and oversaw the reigns of four Alaafins of Oyo, even contributing to the death of three of them. Gaa’s military prowess and mastery of the geography of war gave the Empire all-round conquests in wars Oyo fought during this period. As head of the Oyo Mesi (the Oyo council of Kingmakers) he held awesome powers, especially taking into cognizance the fact that the Alaafins he was their Prime Minister were tyrannical. He also acquired so much power during the period. He was said to be so powerful that he could turn to any animal of his choice. More than these however, Gaa’s talismanic fetish powers and prowess befuddled his sense of reasoning, which made a classical tyrant of him.

He was equally accused of instigating criminal activities in the empire, aiding, abetting and serving as cover-up for crimes traced to members of his household, as well as serial killings his sons and the head of his slaves were notorious for committing. Power drunk, Bashorun Gaa became uncontrollable, even to Alaafin Abiodun Adegorolu (Adegoolu) who reigned from 770–1789. Adegoolu’s reign was remarkable in Oyo’s history as that of prosperity. The wealth of the nation was so humongous that women gleefully sang of how, during his reign, they offhandedly sewed costly velveteen cloth materials.

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Gaa hijacked and diverted all the apparatuses of political machinery and power of Oyo kingdom to himself, including all the homage, tributaries which constituted the material paraphernalia of benefits that the Alaafin was entitled to by culture and history. If Alaafin Abiodun allowed these excesses of his Prime Minister, who was so powerful that he had over 500 aides and a palace of his own, he was bound to lose the de facto power to administer the empire.

Then Alaafin Abiodun and close-knit members of his inner cabinet devised a way of neutralizing Bashorun Gaa. The Alaafin’s daughter, Agbonin, an itinerant kolanut hawker, was selected as the bait and eventually went into martyrdom to castrate Gaa. Agbonin sold this particular variant of kola called gbanja, with its multiple faces. Knowing that she could not have an immediate access to Gaa, the kolanuts she hawked were soaked in potion and the immediate target was Gaa’s closest aide and indeed, his Chief of Staff, called Gbagi. Gbagi and Gaa were both steeped in metaphysical explorations. They went together to seek spiritual powers. It was said that every of those powers acquired by Gaa, Gbagi duplicated. Those potions were in turn tested on various animals to ascertain their efficacy. As she hawked the kola by Gaa’s palace one day, Gbagi invited her in and was mesmerized by her beauty.

A friendship was thus struck between them and off course, purchase of the gbanja which, unbeknown to him, was for him to inexplicably desire Agbonin. To try the efficacy of the potion, Agbonin was instructed to distance self from Gaa’s palace for a while and by the time she returned, it was obvious from his utterances that Gbagi was already starved of her presence. So on this day, as he got engaged with Agbonin, Gaa had made futile attempts to get across to Gbagi from the inner court of the palace and was forced to saunter to the front of the palace. A bitter exchange then began. Other aides who couldn’t stand the Chief of Staff’s prowess then revealed that he was having an amorous relationship with Gaa’s enemy – Alaafin Abiodun’s daughter.

Furious, he called Gbagi all manner of names and threatened to behead him. The latter called his bluff. As Gaa made to enter his palace, Gbagi hit him with a dissembling belt of paralysis called onde which instantly paralyzed him. Agbonin was killed immediately as reprisal by palace courtiers and as Gbagi ran to Alaafin Abiodun’s palace to ask that the Bashorun be immediately captured, one other aide shot him dead. Gaa was reportedly incinerated alive by loyalists of the Alaafin, as a way of ensuring the non-reincarnation of his wickedness. Another variant of the Gaa’s capture is however a bit different. It says that the Prime Minister was looking for an antelope for ritual sacrifice and when Agboin came hawking kolanuts and told him her name, which in Yoruba translates into antelope, he wickedly asked her to be murdered in place of the animal.

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I told this longish story and the preceding ones to establish how women are usually the albatrosses of great men in history. Celebrated Juju musician of post-war Nigeria, Ayinde Bakare, was reported to have been a victim of this age-long libidinous trap. Having gone for a gig at the Lagos Island area on October 1, 1972, while on the bandstand, a woman was said to have been positioned at a vantage point, even as she winked coquettishly at the Juju maestro to arrest his attention. Bakare momentarily halted the musical session and walked to the backstage to meet the woman. He was never seen alive thereafter. Policemen retrieved his body days after from the lagoon and gave him and other bodies a mass burial. The ‘Bakare’ mark on his hand was what reminded a policeman who took particular notice of the incision, when report was made by his family at the police station, that the famous musician was one of the mass-buried bodies. Bakare was subsequently exhumed after twenty days and given proper burial by his colleagues, Ebenezer Obey, IK Dairo, Sunny Ade, Adeolu Akinsanya and others.

Today, as since the beginning of creation, women have remained the most poisonous bait deployed to whittle down the power of men. It is more efficacious if such a man has a burningly incontrollable libido. Women have been used to destroy empires, huge conglomerates and even homes. It was that same power that Spikes and Lewis apparently used on the richest man in black Africa. It is said that every man who has blood flowing in his groins cannot resist the incandescent flame of the libido and that when that candle is burning, the brain goes into hibernation mode.

Aliko Dangote is carrying his own cross of libido with Spikes and Lewis. He sure needs the same famous, celebrated brains that culminated in his financial wizardry and legendary business success now. It may not be outlandish to say that, like every man who had fallen prey to a  woman’s bait before him, that famous cerebrum was in abeyance while the escapades were glowing. To get out of these entanglements, he needs same brains that made him the first in Africa. Now, as Africa’s most accomplished business mogul tries to extricate himself from his libidinous maze, who is the next victim?

 

 

 

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Opinion

Buhari and His Tinubu Frankenstein | By Festus Adedayo

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The news last week that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had begun a probe into the finances of former governor of Lagos State and All Progressives Congress (EFCC) strongman, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, literally shattered the Nigerian political airwaves. In the news, the EFCC reportedly wrote a letter to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) asking it to furnish the commission with details of Tinubu’s assets declaration form. Dated November 6, 2020, marked CR/3000/EFCC/LS/Vol4/322 and signed by its then Zonal Head, Abdulrasheed Bawa who is now the EFCC chairman, media reports had it that the renewed probe was predicated on petitions written against Tinubu under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Magu which he swept under the rug. Chief among the allegations in the petition was that of Alpha Beta, a company allegedly owned by the ex-governor. Tinubu’s alleged ownership of sundry properties and concerns, among a plethora others, donned the said petition.

By “shattering political airwaves,” I meant that the politically naïve were taken aback by this turn of events. In virtually all the states of Nigeria, the periodic rat race for 2023 has begun and only the fittest can survive the heat. We are entering Nigerian politicians’ own masquerade festival season and its insignia of festivity – multiple coloured dresses – is beginning to appear. Anyone in possession of a political binocular microscope which can see through the recess of the fetid minds of the Nigerian politician would predict with oracular certainty that Tinubu’s mess has begun and can only witness a metastasis.

In the mind of the Nigerian politician, all that is foul is fair. A Nigerian politician’s desperation for power is so pervasive that it can be likened to that of a man driven to the point of killing his mother and roping his father for it. Scruples, ethos and dignity a
re easily sacrificed in political permutations while, all things taken into consideration, it will seem that those whose hearts are carapace-hard and incapable of empathy and sympathy operate at the highest echelon of political decision-making. Ancient ethos of requiting good for good easily becomes a sacrificial lamb when the Nigerian politician’s political calculus and permutations are in full swing.

It was all the above pieced together, added to the austere national good that inheres in it, which formed part of the rationale for the previous pieces I wrote on Tinubu’s touted aspiration to become the president of Nigeria. With an understanding of the mindset of those who make political decisions in Nigeria, it was not difficult to appear like a Nostradamus on the projected travails of a man who, in close to 22 years of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, has gradually grown to become a power octopod.

At the risk of sounding patronizing, no 1999 Class of politician has acquired Tinubu-type huge political muscles, majesty and political bravura in Nigeria. The culmination of his grits manifested when, in 2015, he literally single-handedly ensured the emergence of severally-scorned-at-the-polls Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria. A source once told me that, on the announcement of Buhari as president, Tinubu was so literally intoxicated at the outcome that he announced to some group of people that what that meant was not only that all corporations and institutions of Nigeria were in his pocket but that Nigeria herself had thenceforth began to oscillate right on top of his thumb. As vast as he is about the temperature of power and power politics in Nigeria, never did it occur to him to factor into the equation the understanding that, requiting good with blood-curdling wickedness was the genetic component of Nigerian political chess-gaming.

During this time, the most potent weapon for Tinubu to achieve whatever he wanted as a political aspiration in a larger Nigeria was to, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, tighten his hold on his western Nigerian base, become Awo-ly consequential therein and use this hold to secure a negotiation on administering the rest of Nigeria. Unfortunately for him, gradually, he lost grips of his base, so much that, if an election is conducted in Yorubaland today, Tinubu can scarcely win two states to his side.

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Corruption in Nigeria is indeed hydra-headed. Many analysts have imputed a genetic drift into it. Scholars have also submitted that Nigeria would continue to be the laughing stock of the world, even as it witnesses regression in all departments of statehood, until that national leeching spirit is exorcised. With this as the background, asking the EFCC not to do its constitutionally-assigned duty of smoking out malefactors, will tantamount to seeking nourishment and flourish for evil to continue its imperious reign in Nigeria.

However, the modus operandi of this EFCC searchlight on Tinubu appears very shroudy and bears every imprimatur of politics. Exchanged in hushed tones and whispers, information that Tinubu’s hold on its erstwhile chairman Ibrahim Magu, is akin to that of a Mandarin, has been oscillating in the public domain for a while now. It was even said that, aware of their incestuous dalliance, Buhari and his power apparatchik deliberately refused to confirm the Maiduguri-born cop’s tenure as substantive chairman of the commission as a way of exhibiting their disdain for Tinubu. Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, is the legal anvil through whom the legal aspect of the equation is baked and served. So when the EFCC boss began to go through his long-winding travails that eventually led to his exit, those who were knowledgeable about power equations said that it was the first omen that the scaly hands of the Nigerian power establishment was on its way to getting the Lagos political principality. There was no way they could get Tinubu without first demolishing his hold which Magu approximated and an anti-corruption czar who is the establishment’s lickspittle surely appears a fitting icing on the cake to dismantle the Tinubu stronghold.

If the highly touted familial relationship between Malami and Bawa, newly appointed EFCC chairman, has any modicum of truth in it, then it may be justifiably said that Bawa’s main assignment could be to achieve the Buhari click’s end result of smoking out Tinubu. The desperation to push through the candidacy of the 40-year old young man and the apparent frenetic drive to adjust his eligibility cadre are pointers to this effort. Bawa had just spent 16 years in the commission. As a starter, what structured public service job would anybody do for just 16 years and would have acquired enough depth to sit at its zenith?
A last-minute shoring up of Bawa’s service cadre was curiously, and with cheetah speed, done before his appearance at the senate. An implementation of the Justice Ayo Salami panel’s alleged recommendation that police officers should be stopped from heading the commission was also haphazardly pushed through. The question is, is the white paper of the panel’s report out? If it is not out, was it not putting the cart before the horse to implement a recommendation before its white paper is out? The last we heard of the Salami-led judicial panel of enquiry report was that President Buhari had set up a four-man committee to review it.

Also in the news was that the committee would be saddled with producing the White Paper on the probe report whose main recommendation was the removal of Magu. Garba Shehu, the president’s aide, confirming this sequence, had said that “the judicial panel made wide-reaching recommendations which must be carefully studied and acted upon. A White Paper committee is working on the report.”

Again, the ongoing party re-registration being conducted by the APC is a direct rough tackle of Tinubu’s suzerainty in the party. The earlier registration was said to have had been his brainchild which he owned, including the company which conducted it, which was his proxy. He deployed this register to his advantage, especially in states of the country conducting governorship party primaries mid-season in the last few years. By asking for a fresh registration, party faithful know that it is an indirect jab against and vote of no confidence on Tinubu’s control of the party, again by the cabal that is remote-controlling the present Tinubu’s travails.

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The major reason why the presidency wants Tinubu roasted is unclear. Could it be revenge for alleged accusation of him sponsoring the EndSARSriot of October 2020? Tinubu and his lieutenants have spiritedly denied complicity in the allegation. If you look at the date of the correspondence of the EFCC to the CCB, you will realize that the state sprung into action to nail Tinubu barely a month after that seismic riots. Could it also be an attempt to cut the wind off his presidential ambition’s sail by putting EFCC spanners in the works? Already, actions have sprung up towards that presidential bid. A Southwester group, SWAGA, has been meeting in all the states of the west to give life to the aspiration and some northern states have been receiving lobbyists who promote the said Tinubu aspiration. What is however indubitable about this is that the attempt to probe Tinubu is a ooze out of the struggle for control of political space and the presidency is wielding its coercive cudgel to teach the Lagos political czar a lesson of his life.

If the second scenario was the enabler of the Tinubu hunt, it stands against reason that the Lagos octopod himself would not have gauged the resentment of the presidency to his presidential bid before now. There is no doubt that Tinubu made a fatal calculation in misreading the disposition of the people he backed for the presidency in 2015 to him. It is apparent that they are disdainful of him and believe he is worse than a pig in the mire. He was a whiff lucky to have had this pall now hovering over his head delayed for over six years of the Buhari presidency. Just about six months into Buhari being in office, the push to neutralize Tinubu began. The proposal to liquidate him was published as an opinion piece in the Sun newspaper of this period, with very scary propositions to get him probed. So many disparaging comments were made about his person that bordered on the libelous, with the conclusion that he be sacrificed by Buhari, not minding that he played a very significant role in the president’s election.

That fatal misstep of queuing behind Buhari led to a flurry of other missteps. The most cataclysmic of these was his sudden aloofness to the interests of his people. As the Buhari government’s policies became anti-people, Tinubu’s hands were tied to government and against his people. For instance, while the Yoruba agonized over the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, Tinubu stormed the Akure home of the Yoruba leader and poured vitriol on the wounds of the people. “I don’t want to be political, but I will ask, where are the cows?” he had asked sarcastically, apparently deflecting arrows that pointed at the Fulani cow herders.

At several other junctures where his people felt the agonizing pinch of Buhari’s inhuman policies, mum was the word from Tinubu. On the sparse occasion that he spoke, he went so off-tangent that you would wonder how political aspirations can diametrically push people off the path of their people. The final nails on the coffin were Tinubu’s stance on the EndSARS protest which was again, a bonding with the Buhari government. So also was his loud silence on the recent spate of killings and kidnappings in his Southwestern home states.

Last week, at the commissioning of the 1.4km Lagos Agege/Pen Cinema flyover, Tinubu again lapsed into his proclivity for absurd and off-key thinking and got deserved flaks from Lagosians for his unfeeling remarks. While thanking Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for “not letting us down,” Tinubu pilloried his predecessor, Akinwumi Ambode, the visioner who envisioned the flyover project he had come to celebrate. If Ambode had not dreamt that dream, many wondered what the celebrant-in-chief would have had to celebrate. It is typical Tinubu to always sing at the feet of the deity that recently feeds his esophagus.

Having said the above however, the Buhari government would be making its own most fatal mistake if it thinks that it could demonise, criminalise and liquidate Tinubu by stealth due to his rumoured attempt to run for the presidency. Or for any politically motivated reason whatsoever, clothed with an apparel of running foul of the law. If he thinks the Yoruba will clap for him while he drags Tinubu in the mud, he has a think coming. He will face the stiffest opposition to this act from Yorubaland. At a moment like this when Nigeria has become this divisive, so much that any small tinder could make it explode, singling Tinubu out from the crowd of those pillaging Nigeria, among whom are multiple of northern rogues who have continually profited from the laxity of our system, will make a hero out of him and quicken the final explosion of Nigeria.

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Historically, Yoruba always stand behind the weak, at the expense of the strong. The famous Yoruba folklore of Tortoise and his In-law explains the attitude of the people to masters of the brawn that Buhari is trying to fashion himself from. Tortoise’s In-law had committed an infraction against him and as recompense, he had his hands and legs tied and, to put him to proper shame, had him tied to a tree where farmers going to their farms could see him early in the morning. As they saw him and asked Tortoise what his In-law’s err was and he told them, they were livid against Tortoise’s In-law. However, upon their return in the evening and still seeing the In-law in the same state, their anger turned against Tortoise. They prefixed their about-turn anger at him on what the wily animal would have done to the malefactor if he was not his in-law. This is represented in the Yoruba phrase, ototo yi, ana ijapa! When they are at the crossroads, the type that the Buhari government wants to place southwest, with his harangue of Tinubu, Yoruba also remember that Janus-faced wise-saying that Omo eni o ni se’di bebere ka fi ileke si’di omo elomin, translated to mean, parents will always be on the side of their child, no matter their imperfection.

Yoruba did same for MKO Abiola who in the Second Republic, because of the promise to make him president in 1983, turned full circle against his people and used his Concord newspaper as weapon to demonize Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It was the same stance they took when General Sani Abacha sentenced General Olusegun Obasanjo to death over what later panned out as a phantom coup. Even Professor Wole Soyinka, in spite of his highly-burnished dislike for the Owu-born General, and many Yoruba human rights activists, fought stridently to wriggle Obasanjo off the Kano General’s maniacal grips.

The Buhari government and Tinubu himself should accept that they are both Frankenstein monsters to each other. They are both each other’s 2015 mutually destructive inventions. Frankenstein’s monster, you will recall, is a creature, a fictional character in the 1818 novel The Modern Prometheus, written by Mary Shelley. She had compared the scientist who created the monster, an 8 feet tall and “terribly hideous” character in his laboratory, Victor Frankenstein, to Prometheus. While Prometheus moulded humans out of clay and imbued them with fire, Frankenstein’s ambiguous human being attempted to fit into the human society and when it was shunned, killed Frankenstein in the process. I hope the self-styled Mai Gaskiya is listening.

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My Mortuary Experience | By Oyewale Oyegoke

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Mortuary experience is necessary to understand the vanity of life. I cried out last year January when I had my first mortuary experience at New Adeoyo hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, where the remains of my late father, Bishop Dr. Segun Oyewale was deposited. I saw men and women packed like dried fishes. Some on the bare floor, some on the wood. All naked, lifeless, powerless.

I stopped worrying, I stopped running, I stopped fighting, I stopped gathering by force….. I begin to live with consciousness of vanity, the consciousness of nothingness. So when, like scavengers, some people were rushing to sell properties left by the deceased off, thinking I would react, I just laughed, because the first question one must ask is “where is the owner”? Of course, what is the essence of life? Building edifices? I will go for impact!

So many would have changed mind if they visit mortuary today. The elders misbehaving should be recommended for such visit. The fathers gallivanting should be stylishly baited to visit, the thug doing land grabbing will understand salvation message fast on a visit. It is a place of fear for one’s end. Get me a monster witch and I will take her on a journey. She would beg for a cover at her last end, when she can no more fly. Mortuary is a dreadful place.

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I heard my mum said recently, ” never allow my body to sleep one day in mortuary when I am gone “.

I saw myself fighting others for prompt burial of my late dad last year after my visit. I was forced to study extensively the reaction of soul or the turmoil of soul when its body has not been given back to the mother earth, then I concluded, the best form of burial is as its been practiced by Muslims. Your clothes, foods, no more their concern. The mortal body must put on the immortality.

We all need to learn to help our dead ones to start their rest as soon as possible. Meanwhile, our rests as living starts the day we adopt the deep message of man’s end in this physical body.

This rest experience is sweet!

 

 

Oyewale Oyegoke writes from Ibadan, Oyo state

 

 

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Trouble Fighting Corruption In Nigeria | By Abba Dukawa

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The corrupt man is everywhere, the man on the street, the man next door, the man in the church or mosque, the man in the market or the departmental store, the policeman on beat patrol and the soldier at the check point (Okadigbo, 1987)

The present administration came to power through the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari with his top three cardinal promises of “economic development, fighting insecurity and corruption”. But the country is still languishing in extreme poverty as result of corruption and the fight against corruption has become a mere political statement.

Nigerians are alienated, angry and fed up with the way the fighting corruption is being handled  with the slow pace of the fight against corruption since the administration came to power.

Regrettably, it is under the watch of this present administration that Nigeria’s corruption perception index published by Transparency International has nosedived. With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau being the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region. The country scored 26 out of 100 points, a drop from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017. In the 2018 index, Nigeria rose by four places on the index from 148 to 144 and also dropped two places in 2019, ranking 146 out of the 180 countries.

Since 2015, Transparency International reports indicated that the administration’s war against corruption could not be said to be effective in the light of the poor performance of the EFCC in several high-profile corruption cases like defencegate,PDP  Campagn funds and the most publicised case of a former petroleum minister.

But the trouble with the anti-corruption agency in Nigeria is clearly lack of political will from leaders of the agencies assigned with the  responsibility of fighting corruption in the country as corruption cases have been on the increase. The anti-corruption agencies have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are not able to translate their anti–corruption “crusade” into action.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act (2004) empowered the commission to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and it is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes.

But 17 years after the establishment of the agency, strangely, all former chairmen of the commission were allegedly removed for undisclosed abuse of office.

There is no doubt that the new chairman of the EFCC will be facing an herculean task and may not like to go the way of his predecessors. He has the urgent challenge of regaining the confidence of Nigerians by turning around the commission to achieve its objectives.

Many Nigerians are expecting much from the new chairman as he takes over the mantle of leadership because corruption cases have been on the increase despite the anti–corruption campaigns. The new chairman is expected to be an agent of change in fighting the common enemy that has frustrated the realization of country’s economic development despite the enormous natural and Human Resources.

Perhaps, the new chairman should strengthen the collective effort in citizens’ participation in the fight against corruption as this will increase the chances of engaging non-state actors, especially the media and civil society organizations, in providing information to the public in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

Some other expectations of Nigerians include reform of the commission and ensuring a fair and balanced fight against corruption in the country as an officer who passed through the ranks of the commission. He should ensure that there is synergy between the EFCC and other sister anti-graft agencies like the ICPC and other law enforcement agencies in order to produce the needed results in the fight against corruption.

It will be recalled that the slow pace of court cases and financial settlements made by wealthy individuals and entities outside of the courtroom have impeded successful prosecution of cases.  The convictions of two former governors, Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, have failed to convince the public of the sincerity and effectiveness of the war against corruption.

Need for the establishment of a special anti-corruption tribunal by the National Assembly to facilitate speedy determination of hundreds of corruption cases before the nation’s courts will aid the war against corruption.

 

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DUKAWA, writes from Kano state

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