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Makinde and The Jinx of Salary in Politics | By Alhazan Abiodun

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“Seyi tun ti se’yi o!” was the message on a notification on a WhatsApp group I belong on Thursday, 25th July,2019. The message was from a member who might had hitherto had a mixture of trust and doubt on the capability of the State administration, under Engr. Seyi Makinde to pay salaries, pensions and allowances every 25th of each month.
Not up to ten seconds, I got an alert from my bank, notifying me of a credit deposit which was my own salary. I was also elated, not just because I would be able to meet financial demands, but also that workers in general would again have the opportunity of having savings power through their cooperative groups and personal investments.
Civil servants in Oyo State have started getting used to this ritual of having a fully charged mobile phones handy, especially every 25th of each month and again, creditors can be rest assured that civil servants are credit-worthy.
Oyo State has a varying overhead cost of #4.5 to #5billion monthly, especially in the last eight years, which included, pensions and allowances of political office holders.
The State gets an average of #2billion and #2.5billion from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). Of course for the month of June, Oyo State got #2,105,441,605.76 (over two billion naira).
The fear of the cynics could be given some air of reality when you look at the need to take care of other areas of governance apart from salary overhead, but we have seen a governor who has shown his readiness to utilize a renewed vigour in maximizing new frontiers in foreign investments and expanded internally-generated revenue.
As at the 25th of July, 2019, some might still have the fear of a reverse of situation to the old whenever Commissioners and other appointees assume office, but like in other areas where this governor had promised to make a change, I have assurance that the jinx of late salary payment has been broken!
Governor Seyi Makinde promised to stop any form of payment by pupils and students in public primary and secondary schools. Today, that has been put to history as doable. As I am writing, a powerful monitoring team , led by the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Nureni Adeniran is moving around schools where reports were rife of the school authorities defied government order and sent pupils out for not paying fees.
That is the nature of human. Like some cynics will believe, the jinx of late salary is still strongly clamped around civil servants’ necks, some will also think free education is never going to be accomplished in Oyo State.
Let us look at the merits of prompt payment of salaries, pensions and allowances. A civil servant that is paid as at when due, especially at a predictable day of the month will be eager to put his utmost into bettering his or her job. Efficiency and optimal delivery will be his or her goal as he will always has it at the back of his mind that he will be ungrateful to an administration that has fulfilled its own side of the bargain.
Savings power and small scale investment will be on the rise and this will in turn boost local investments while crimes will reduce, as we all know that money has a phenomenon of moving like powerful flood within any society when each and everyone has something to do at work.
The governor has made a promise which he has fulfilled and we pray that God give him the intellectual power to sustain his fulfilments in all strata of governance.
Somebody asked about government’s payment of 13th month salary to its civil servants and I answered the fellow that it was a gesture of appreciation, not the salary accrued to them for services rendered throughout the month.
Only prompt salary payment will return financial power to the individual worker for him to send his wards to higher institution of learning and engage in other things that will promote his living.
Again, while I pray that God empower our governor to do more in governance and in fulfilment of his electoral promises, It is also my prayer that the evil of late salary never visit Oyo workers again.
Alhazan Abiodun Rilwan is the Head of ICT and Editor at Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

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Opinion

Plates of rice | By Tunde Busari

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Without being prematurely critical, I can only fold my arms and sit to see results which the Southwest Security Network (Amotekun) would bring to the geopolitical zone after yesterday’s passing out of 1500 personnel in Oyo town.

Oyo State Governor Engineer Seyi Makinde has incontrovertibly blazed the trail since all the Southwest governors loudly spoke in unanimity in 2019 to confront headlong the threatening insecurity in the region. So help them, God.

However, I maintain my reservation on the implementation of the security agenda given what looks like hurried pace with which the Oyo State Amotekun was trained and presented to Governor Makinde yesterday. I’m still not convinced that three weeks training can be adequate to face the monstrous problem at hand.

Yes, reports have it that within the three weeks, members demonstrated full grasp of march past. But march past is ceremonial than operational required now. How many weeks do it take secondary school pupils to learn the art to put up flawless displays at annual inter-house sports fiesta?

Anyway, without being critical, I want to believe that Colonel Olayinka Olayanju, the commandant, has, in the past three weeks, subjected the recruits to appropriate reorientation to meet the public expectations in curtailing crimes. I want to believe intelligence gathering skill was intensively taught and exhaustively explored because, in my view, that’s what should be the strong point of the Amotekun in all the states.

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Let us see the police, civil defence and army in their uniforms. We are used to seeing them. We are familiar with them. Let us, conversely, not see Amotekun. Let Amotekun work like undercover. Let them be anonymous. Let them be faceless. Let them work like ghost. Let them walk like Elemosho in Baba Lere Paimo film.

Should Amotekun members also parade themselves on the streets in their flashy maroon uniform, there is tendency that they will abuse their oath and also end in the convoy of politicians at social gatherings. Later, they would also be struggling and fighting themselves over plates of rice and amala. They would be disgracefully giving compliment to every Dick and Harry, including criminal elements assumed to have some Naira notes to throw at them.

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Opinion

Six Consequences Of Being Stingy

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According to the dictionary, ‘Stingy’ simply means unwilling to share, give, or spend possessions or money. Interestingly, many people are yet to discover that selfishness is one of the reasons they remain the way they are.

This is because there is a step on the ladder of greatness that a selfish person may not go beyond. They could live comfortably but they can never be a world changer.

A good way is to critically look at the consequences of being stingy, which is the opposite of being generous and they are as follows:

Inability to take risks

Since the stingy person does not want to lose anything at all and as a result of that , they might find it difficult to take risk in investment. Businesses is all about risk and the higher the risk, the higher the returns and vice versa. Similarly, religion is all about faith, so people take the risk in faith and that’s why they consult God before investing in any business. The stingy does not have faith because they believe their money will be lost if they take a giant step to move further.

Erode people’s blessings

There is blessing in giving. Therefore, failure to give is failure to get blessing. If the Bible which other religions also shared same sentiment with says, “give and it shall be given unto you”, meaning that if you don’t give , nothing shall be given in returns; because if you do not let go the seed, you cannot reap the fruits.

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Deters business expansion

Selfish people lack human relationship because selfishness send people away from you and no matter how talented you are, if you cannot work with people, you may not go far in business world. Most of the times, when you give , the blessing that would come will come through your business or your job but if you are selfish , the blessing that is supposed to come through the business will be denied and thereby deter the expansion of the business.
Selfish people even finds it difficult to pay salaries of their workers and when the workers are not happy, how can the business expand ?

Loneliness

Being stingy discourages friendships and relationships, thus people would prefer not to associate with such individual. Giving attracts people and where the spirit of giving is lacking, people will not like that person and this may cause loneliness to the fellow

Negative confession

“I do not have” statement have ruined many and they didn’t know. Stingy people always saying negative confession, even when they have more than enough they would still not fall short of this negative confession, “I don’t have ” which is a negative prophecy.

Greed

Investigations revealed that the selfish people are much greedier. They always want to get everything to themselves. They are full of ‘I before others’ attitude. Unfortunately, greediness prevents people from the way to greatness.

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Opinion

#EndSARS: The Melancholic Beats Of A Two-Faced Drum | By Wole Adejumo

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I entered Akinola Maja Street, Jericho, Ibadan and approached the Superintendent of Police who was the most senior officer on the scene and after checking his name tag, I greeted him and identified myself, in my characteristic manner; “my name is Wole Adejumo, I work with The Street Journal”. I told him I noticed unusual movements and I came to check what was going on. “It is nothing serious, just a routine exercise”, he replied. So I stood by, blended with the already gathering crowd and looked on.

As the officers marched the suspects out of the premises of a petroleum haulage outfit, I brought out my camera and clicked away. I had barely taken the second picture when a hand tried to snatch the camera from behind me. I turned round to face the person and ensure that I didn’t lose the camera. Behold, it was a police sergeant and within a minute, another policeman had joined him.

I kept struggling until it crossed my mind that struggling for a camera with two men carrying Kalashnikov rifles might not be a very sensible thing to do, especially with the many cases of ‘accidental discharge’ that I had heard of. Help was not coming from any of the bystanders. I left the camera and almost immediately, the Sergeant bellowed at me, “sit down there”.  Of course seeing that the rifles were no longer on their shoulders but in their hands, my compliance was not delayed.

Right there, I was dispossessed of my phones and voice recorder. Minutes seemed like hours and the two policemen were already accusing me of being a “spy”. They put a call through to their superior officer while I sat there on the asphalt. Fortunately, the phone was on speaker, so I heard the conversation audibly. When the Sergeant reported that they had caught me, the response from the other end was “is it the guy wearing a green shirt and blue trousers? Leave him, he is a journalist”. That was how I got to know that it was the Superintendent at the other end. The Sergeant however gave reasons for which they should hold me. “He is a spy, we caught him taking pictures, sir”, he said. This time, the Superintendent said “don’t mind him, he is a foolish man. Wait for me”.

On his arrival, I was ordered to stand up and move towards the patrol van he rode in. He asked what they took from me. When I told him the items, he looked at the Sergeant and said “return his phones”.

By the time I retrieved the camera from the office of the Police Public Relations Officer later, the pictures had been wiped. My voice recorder was never found! Of course, being an expert in damage control, the PPRO apologized and said they were doing their job just as I was doing mine. He gave reasons we should be friends, especially since we had the same godfather. That was around June, 2010.

It didn’t come as a surprise that the then Superintendent’s name appeared conspicuously on the list of officers rumoured to have been penciled down for reprimand by the Force as a fallout of the Anti-SARS protests. Though the Force debunked the list, it might be an indication that the senior officer in question has always had potentials for controversy.

While I cannot claim to have had an encounter with the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), I have friends who cannot say the same.

Way back in 2003, Tunde Aluko was caught in their web twice. The first was when policemen came and claimed that he and two other neighbours were apprehended at the scene of a robbery and they were in SARS custody. The second was when he stopped by at one of the ‘joints’ on Ring Road to buy cigarettes. Gun wielding policemen came and arrested him.

My friend left Nigeria some months after. Why? One of the SARS officers issued him what seemed like a personal threat. “You know this is the second time they would bring you here. You wear designer clothes, expensive watches and jewelries, yet you claim to be a student. If you are brought here a third time, I will shoot you”, the officer told him. Since his mum, who was the source of the designer clothes and watches was not ready to lose him to an embittered policeman’s bullet; she took the all-important steps of taking him out of the country.   

As we already know, SARS is not self-existent; it is a unit in the Police Force. As such, officers in the disbanded unit will be transferred to other units, thus retaining them as members of the Force. They will undoubtedly operate with the same character.

The truth is that the whole Police Force needs to be overhauled. For instance, the officer that shot and killed Jimoh Isiaka during the #EndSARS Protest in Ogbomoso was not from SARS.  Gone are the days when the Force enlisted passionate young people. Not a few of the present crop of policemen are doing the job for want of a better choice. That explains why many officers are unhappy when they see someone that appears to be doing well.

The squalor in the Police College has become an open secret and one wonders how officers trained under such squalid conditions are expected to be happy to secure other citizens.

Quite unfortunately, it is not just a police problem. Earlier in the week, a truck parked on what was supposed to be the fast lane at the popular Mobil Junction leading to Oluyole Estate. Not only did the truck obstinately obstruct traffic, some youths were beside it dancing right there on the road. It was just around 6:50 when people were returning from work. They were marketing a certain “bitters” which was relatively new in the market. They rebuffed my efforts to make them realize that they were wrong to have blocked the road. “Motor wey big pass your own don pass here, oga dey go”, some of them told me as they started banging on my car.

It may not be wrong to infer that from politicians to policemen, community and religious leaders; it is with relentless vigour that people use their positions as tools of oppression and enrichment.

That explains why internet fraudsters suddenly became the prime target of SARS officers. Policemen want money and since Yahoo Boys are cashing out illegitimately, police officers have taken it upon themselves to get a piece of the cake.

Who would blame the policemen? The dilapidation in the average police barrack is more than enough to becloud the vision and competence of even the most upright man in the force. Hardly can any officer living in such an environment give peak performance at work. And sadly, years ago, the Police, SARS inclusive became a tool often deployed by big men to harass people and settle scores.

So when SARS started arresting fraudsters, no one bothered to ask whether powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were being usurped or whether the Police Anti-Fraud Unit had become extraordinarily useless to the point of not being able to handle internet fraud.

Given the same opportunity under the same conditions, many of the #EndSARS protesters and by extension, average Nigerians would fare worse than the people they are protesting against. So, it is not just the Police Force that needs reforms, the government of Nigeria at all levels, and every Nigerian needs to be reformed and re-orientated in one way or the other.

While we look towards ending police brutality once and for all, we also need to look into other forms of abuse that have impeded Nigeria’s progress thus far. For instance, the Manager who will not employ a female applicant unless she warms his bed, the female student who is willing to give sex in exchange for good grades, the lecturer who is willing to aid such student, the civil servant who will not move a file unless he gets a tip and the electorate who sell their votes to the highest bidder are all as bad as the police officers we are all criticizing.

Sir Winston Churchill once said “if you are going through hell, keep going”. The youth have channeled a course and with the assurance that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, the journey into a better Nigeria seems to have only just begun.

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