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The Challenges Ahead of Nigerian Youths

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Fellow Nigerians, please permit me to discuss the matter of our youths again. I’m truly troubled because of the attitude I see on display today. I wish to state categorically, that the internet is misleading lot of our young ones

The internet is a giver of false hopes and confidence. I want to believe that the power of the internet is exaggerated and overrated in our dearly beloved country. Everyone who is able to buy some data sees himself as an omnipotent blogger who can install or bring down any government. This delusion of grandeur is not local to Nigeria but is pervasive all over Africa and it is tragic.

Suddenly every blogger is a celebrity. I make it a habit to check the number of followers they command and control. I check their tweets and scrutinise their influence. People with less than 50,000 followers claim to own the heavens and the earth in a country with a population fast approaching 200 million. The sad thing is that those who should know better believe their influence and begin to help the bloggers in peddling what is mostly drivel and sometimes blatant falsehood. What is worse, about 70 percent of the population are largely illiterate or ill-lettered. Ignorance and poverty have also combined to render many of us irrelevant. When some of this illiterate and ignorant population seize upon some of the rubbish peddled by the bloggers, you can imagine the outcome. Distorted and misleading information travels by the jungle express of rumour mongering that Nigerians seem to have perfected into an art form. With the knowledge of the effect that they have, many bloggers have resorted to uncouth language and brazen attacks on whosoever they disagree with. No effort is made to persuade and convince.

Let me posit my thesis right away. Unless Nigerian youths purge themselves of the arrogance associated with the social media, the journey of liberation may be much longer than we think or know. We must all pay our dues before we can begin to flex muscles of greatness and apotheosis. There are no short cuts to these things. Our youths must read and learn the history of revolutions. No matter how commonly available internet data has become, thanks to a company like GLOBALCOM, with humongous investments in submarine cables and state of the art technology, every one of us must still go through the rudiments of political science. And it is not as simple as it seems.

The good news is that there has been so much hoopla about youth participation in the governance of Nigeria. The mantra is simple and easy to remember: NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN. Very apt and nice. But how are they going to change an age-old habit that has become irremovably sticky? What I see is discomfiting. I see feel-good advocates and crusaders who see their activities as only a means to an end. I see a cockiness that shows me that we think this is a joke or some circus clownery. Nigeria is not going to change overnight just because we have internet and smartphones. Many of our forebears paid the ultimate and supreme price trying to change Nigeria for the better. They were better focussed and ready to suffer the excruciating pains of being non-conformist. Ask Herbert Macaulay. Ask Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe, Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Ooni

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Adesoji Aderemi, Nzeogwu, Odumegwu Ojukwu. Ask Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Aminu Kano, Balarabe Musa, Moshood Abiola. Ask Wole Soyinka, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Tai Solarin, Gani Fawehinmi, Kenule Saro Wiwa, Femi Falana. And so many others who passed through the trenches of oppression and repression.

Someone needs to draw attention to false claims to martyrdom by those without any history or record of sustained struggle. Those who sit in the comfort of their homes and think they can influence decisions and elections are only kidding. A political revolution is never a tea party. They can lie to themselves in their braggadocio but not to those who understand the game of power. Ultimately they are not fooling the Nigerian people. Ask the common man today what he feels about the so-called agitators today and you will truly find your answer,. The people are not stupid. Show me any youth organisation in Nigeria with a membership of up to one million people. Show me any demonstration in Nigeria with a followership of 50,000 followers that lasted one week running. Yet we saw unrelenting crowds in Egypt, Brazil, Venezuela and other far-flung places. They probably had more internet penetration than us but still did not keep their arms akimbo while awaiting a socio-political miracle. If Nigerian youths are going to make any remarkable difference in the foreseeable future, they must prepare for the long-haul and not the opportunistic and psychedelic joke we see all around us today. The Government too needs to be careful not to elevate charlatans and attention seekers into what they are not. There is at present a growing tendency to do so.

2018 is almost knocking and 2019 will soon follow, yet none of us can say with any degree of certainty the top three youthful and cerebral candidates Nigerian youths would readily support when the times comes. What we are likely to see again is merchandising with smart boys chasing juicy contracts from the highest bidder.

Everyone loves money but we must be ready to sacrifice something for our long-suffering country before we can claim the honour and the glory. A man who does not want to get wet should never go near the river. That is why the sacrifice Chief Abiola paid can never be dismissed as little. I’m not sure the “ajebutters” (silver-spoon kids) of today are ready for a “sit-at-home” not to talk of “sleep-in-prison” situation.

Where do we go from here? There are certain basic ground rules that we must establish and regulate well ahead of the 2019 general elections. The first criteria that must be sorted and settled as a matter of principle is that of age. We’ve tested the young, the middle-age and the aged and most have wobbled and fumbled. What we need therefore is to insist that no matter the situation, Nigeria needs men and women of strength and stamina henceforth. Our infrastructure deficit makes it imperative for us to search, seek and support our best eleven. We can no longer afford to have musical chairs and seat-warmers for God’s sake. Enough of crawling snail-like at a time the rest of the world is moving at supersonic speed. Anyone above 65 has passed retirement age and should please spare Nigeria the agony and aguish of weak and ineffectual leadership.

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The priority of Nigeria in 2019 would no longer be the war against corruption since Mr Magu has already declared victory over the malignant cancer that has almost killed our country. That is the main reason many people had no choice but to vote for a man we considered old but strong enough to drive the fear of God into our recalcitrant looters. While it is the right of every Nigerian above forty to contest Presidential election, it is also the right of Nigerian youths to reject any aspirant or candidate above retirement age. This is the reasonable thing to do but if we fail to establish this principle as early as possible, we should stop lamenting like the Biblical Jeremiah.

The next principle that must be critically reconsidered is the issue of zoning system. If Nigeria does not kill zoning, zoning will kill Nigeria. I do not care where the President of Nigeria comes from but I care about the age and competence and stamina of my President. Nigeria is well endowed with some of the brightest brains in the world but zoning promotes mediocrity as well as corruption. While the original idea of zoning was to promote a sense of belonging, it has since been bastardised to engender a sense of negative and destructive competition. Zoning is now a formula of rotating thievery and roguery. It is clear that in today’s Nigeria, whichever tribe attains power would always thrive better than the others. And this has generated too much tension in the land. It is one of the reasons many are agitating for restructuring right now which may eventually lead to implosion and explosion. There is no justification for this. Careful national planning is all encompassing. No tribe should feel that it would be neglected if its “person” is not in power. Visionaries do not think like that and they do not engender such a feelin. Government is not about the sharing of positions but the development of infrastructure and of the populace.

There are practical ways we can tackle the urgent needs of Nigeria. Our present system is too slow and sluggish. In 2010, I approached Mallam Nasir El Rufai to be my running mate which he politely declined. My aim was to have a combination of similar minds from the South and the North. But something positive came out of that attempted synergy. He told me that he and a group of like minds were thinking of assembling a star-studded team and the idea would be to have like a shadow cabinet that can be sold jointly to Nigerians to give a preview of what their government would look like. For me, that remains a brilliant idea. It would be fantastic to be able to visualise what our next government would promise Nigerians in terms of personnel and content. If we had this type of arrangement before the election, it would have given us an idea of the type of leaders to expect. This would also save the political parties of acrimonious primaries. This is the beauty of the British Parliamentary system which we can adopt even in our Presidential system.

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Let each of our parties showcase their team instead of showing us only one strongman and a weaker Vice. APC would be forced to present a formidable team if they see that PDP has gathered some much brighter and tested team instead of an ill-assorted bunch of politicians foisted on the nation only by godfathers and political expediency. I will be too excited in the next dispensation to see such names as Yemi Osinbajo, Donald Duke, Nasir El Rufai, Babatunde Fashola, Godswill Akpabio, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Akinwumi Adesina, Charles Soludo, Oby Ezekwesili, Fola Adeola, Jimi Agbaje, Rotimi Amaechi, Peter Obi, Aminu Tambuwal, Bukola Saraki, Yakubu Dogara, Nuhu Ribadu, Pat Utomi, Bolaji Abdullahi, Akinwunmi Ambode, Tony Elumelu, Ibe Kachikwu, Awwal Tukur, Kayode Fayemi, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Seidu Mallami, Wale Babalakin, (not in any particular order) and so many other distinguished Nigerians at home and abroad joining hands with our up and coming young Turks to move our economy and society in the right direction. The next President of Nigeria must have substantial and sufficient educational qualifications for the job. Experience in politics is not necessarily a sine qua non. Note that most, if not all, of those I have mentioned have national appeal and are detribalised to a large extent. I do not say that the President or his deputy should come from their number. Only that it would be nice to see them in a future government that has a mix of youth and experience. Divide and distribute them into different political parties and select President and Ministers from them, it won’t matter if any of them is from the North or South.

If the youths don’t insist on those principles and do everything possible to enforce them, nothing is going to change. We are going to wake up the day after the election and discover that someone closer to 80 than 60 would have won again, largely assisted by those under 40.

Shame!

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Alaafin of Oyo, encyclopedia of Yoruba culture and tradition – Tegbe

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state, Engr. Olasunkanmi Tegbe has described the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III as an encyclopedia of the culture and traditions of the entire Yoruba race.

Congratulating the custodian of culture on his 50th coronation anniversary, Tegbe said Oba Adeyemi has displayed uncommon wisdom and emotional intelligence in administering his domain, fostering peace and sustainable development.

In a statement signed on Thursday and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, the APC chieftain added that the Alaafin has not only “sustained our heritage and identity as a people”, but also used his throne to build bridges of friendship and harmony in the state, across Yoruba Land and beyond.

“I felicitate with His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III on the 50th Anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

“In half a century, Kábíyèsí has displayed uncommon wisdom and emotional intelligence in administering his domain, fostering peace and sustainable development.

“Iku Baba Yeye has sustained our heritage and identity as a people. He is best described as an encyclopedia of the culture and traditions of the entire Yoruba race.

“Our Father has used his throne to build bridges of friendship and harmony in the state, across Yoruba Land and beyond.

“I remain proud of his progressive ideals, particularly the legacy of peace and harmony which Yorubas are known for.

“I pray that Kabiyesi spends many more years in good health”, the statement read.

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Oyo PDP Chieftain, Abioye Fetes Less Privileged to Mark Birthday

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In the spirit of showing love, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, Hon. Abioye Mathew Adegboyega has extended hands of fellowship to the orphans at Ibadan Home for Morheless Babies, Ibadan and beggars by donating cash gift to them to mark his birthday yesterday.

Abioye, who was a two term former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly informed that he took the decision to further display his passion for the deprived in the society to let them have sense of belonging.

According to him, “this is what I have been doing every year to relate with the poor. Coming to orphanage homes is to celebrate with sober reflection on the sad happenings experienced in the country and the world as a whole since last year especially the Corona virus disease that has killed millions of people and to thank God that despite that, God still preserve me to witness yet another birthday.”

While promising to continue to render assistance for the less privileged as long as he lives, the former lawmaker, however appealed to well meaning Nigerians and philanthropists to extend their wealth to the less privileged in the society.

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Makinde’s foreign trip amid insecurity in Oyo, height of insensitivity, says APC group

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A group of media players within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state, The Pacesetter Initiative (TPI), has taken a swipe at Governor Seyi Makinde over his reported trip to the United States of America at a time most parts of the state were faced with some security challenges and social instability.

Although there were no official confirmation on the governor’s overseas trip, impeccable sources have it that he (Makinde) left Nigeria on December 31, 2020 to unite with members of his immediate family who are permanent residents of Houston, Texas in the United States and returned to Nigeria on Monday.

In a statement issued on Monday and made available to newsmen in Ibadan by the Group’s Coordinator, Hon. Afeez Bolaji Repete, and Director of Organization, Olawale Sadare, TPI frowned at what it called a height of insensitivity and ineptitude on the part of Gov. Makinde who it accused of abandoning his people when they needed him most.

“How can a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Security Officer of an important state like Oyo leave his hapless people to the mercy of hoodlums, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the name of an unofficial foreign trip? And to make the matter worse, the governor sneaked out without doing all that was necessary as laid down in the Constitution of the land.

“Gov. Makinde’s trip to the United States, this time, came at a time his government needed to arrest the surging challenges of insecurity bedevilling virtually every part of the state as residents of Ibadan, Oke-Ogun, Ibarapa, Ogbomoso and Oyo were gnashing their teeth on account of coordinated hoodlum attacks, kidnappings, killings and other organized crimes.

“As a Group of patriots, we could have expressed little or no worries if the situation had not degenerated to the point of ceaseless loss of lives and property in the affected areas. But our independent investigation revealed that those responsible for the crime surge in the state had taken advantage of Gov. Makinde’s poor handling of the security issues since he came on board in 2019 as against what was experienced during the eight year reign of his immediate predecessor, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

“The situation took a turn for the worse immediately the governor traveled last month and it became known to the perpetrators of crime that nobody was in the saddle again because Gov. Makinde did not hand over the baton to his deputy as expected. As a result of this, the PDP administration in the state became leaderless and rudderless since the governor who has been running a one-man show found it appropriate to abandon his duty post at a critical time and without allowing anyone to act in his capacity as necessary for no known reasons.

“It is equally appalling to note that none of those expected to take the bull by the horn and mobilize all the necessary actions to quell the ugly situation are not visible at all. Only the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor reels out half truths and propaganda to create a fake impression that all is well with the state. The question in the lips of the people is whether the governor’s blanket ban on all officials of the state to speak up also affect the Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly.” TPI submitted.

In another development, The Pacesetter Initiative (TPI) has also warned the Makinde administration to cancel its alleged plans aimed at silencing members of the public, especially APC faithful, who have been found to be critical of the present administration in the build-up to the 2023 general election.

“We have uncovered plans by the trusted aides and allies of Gov. Makinde to unleash a terror gang populated by members of a faction of the proscribed NURTW in the state who have been decorated as Park Managers and Amotekun officials to hound and attack some identified critics of the state government, especially those belonging to the APC, with a view to silencing them ahead of the next general election.

“We urge Gov. Makinde to halt such plan which is capable of throwing the state into untold political turmoil and social crisis”. TPI stated.

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