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With Love from Yokohama – Femi Adesina

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Love in Tokyo is the title of a 1966 film that became a hit at the box office. Since then, when men and women, boys and girls show affection to one another publicly, you often hear “love in Tokyo.”

But we only landed in Tokyo, and took a 30 minutes drive to Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city. That is why instead of Love in Tokyo, the headline of this piece is With Love from Yokohama.

What am I doing in this port city of Japan, with a population of about 3.7 million people? Good question. I am here as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s delegation to the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, otherwise known as TICAD7. It holds between August 28 and 30.
If you talk of a long-haul flight, this was one. A number of times, I have been to China. To India. To United States of America. Long flights from Nigeria, no doubt. But Japan now wins the diadem.

Except I have the grace to go to Australia, New Zealand, and some other ends of the world countries in future, Japan is the farthest I’ve now done. About 17 hours in the air. Holy Moses!
From Abuja to Muscat, in Oman, where we made a technical stopover, to refuel and stretch our legs, it was 7 hours and 13 minutes. After about an hour, we were on the way again. Nine hours, 24 minutes, nonstop. You love to sleep? You will sleep till your eyes bulge. You love to read? You will read till you begin to smell of books. Love movies? You will watch, and watch, and watch, till you begin to imagine yourself as Sean Connery or Sylvester Stallone.

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In the air, the time seems to crawl ever so slowly, even when your plane is flying at the speed of sound.

As the screen in the plane gives you an idea of where you are, it also gives a sense of deja vu. Places you had visited in the past. Muscat, in Oman was the same place we had stopped over to refuel in 2016, while returning home from an official visit to China. But this time, the airport was wearing a new look, with an ultra-modern terminal. Oil money at work. That is what a country gets when its resources are not looted blind. Kill corruption, otherwise, it kills your country.

Flying over Middle East, you recall trips to Qatar, Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and many others. New Delhi also brought memories of search for Indian talisman during a trip in late 2015. Nearing Japan, when we flew over a place called Osaka, I remembered the young tennis sensation, Naomi Osaka, the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament last year, a feat she has repeated at the Australian Open this year. Serena Williams is her role model, but that did not stop her from sensationally drubbing her idol. Great girl!

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Flying over Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, brought back poignant memories of visits to those cities.

What can Nigerians expect from Yokohama? Our President is not just footloose, withstanding the rigour of long-haul flights for nothing. It is all about Nigeria, and her development. The conference is under the theme ‘Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passion for the Future.’ It is the seventh in the series of what began as a once-in-five-years conference in 1993, but now holds every three years. It rotates between Japan and Africa, with the last held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

In Kenya, Japan had pledged $30 billion investment for the future of Africa, another $10 billion for infrastructure, and $500 million for vocational training of 50,000 Africans. On Wednesday, President Buhari will unfold what Nigeria has gained so far from Japan, and of course, present fresh shopping bills. Yes, we can’t singlehandedly reverse the infrastructure deficit we have in Nigeria. We need help from credible places.

I hope to bring you developments on the sidelines of the conference. Keep a date with Japan File. There may even be a dose of Love in Tokyo, who knows.

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Opinion

Raufu Olaniyan: A True Omoluabi @60

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“A Great Man Is Always Willing to be Little” Ralph Emerson Waldo.

The concept of Omoluabi, according to Wikipedia, is a philosophical and cultural concept that is native to the Yoruba people. It is used to describe a person of good character. The omoluabi concept signifies courage, hard work, humility and respect. An Omoluabi is a person of honor who believes in hard work, respects the rights of others, and gives to the community in deeds and in action. Above all, an Omoluabi is a person of integrity.

Engr Raufu Olaniyan, the Deputy Governor of Oyo state, epitomizes the core of the Omoluabi concept and more. It will be difficult for me to enumerate the many traits of Omoluabi in Olaniyan, who from humble beginnings, like a little mustard seed, has become a mighty tree.

Born on February 25th, 1960, in Igboho, Oorelope local government area of Oyo state, Olaniyan, despite the challenges thrust on him by his humble start, against all odds, moved up the ladder. Today, his existence and relationship with people reflect deep understanding of life’s philosophical lessons regarding how God can raise a man from the dunghills and set him among Princes.

How do we begin to X-Ray the life of the man who is a mentor to many of us? A benefactor, a father and a friend.

A philanthropist of note, Olaniyan gives not because he has surplus, but because he knows how it feels to lack. He is a generous man to a fault. If you say you are hungry, he understands. If your rent is due and you can not meet the next payment, Olaniyan understands. School fees, cars, buildings, health needs, Olaniyan understands. In all of these, he has touched many lives and is still doing so. He is always cheerful while being a blessing to many. He often would say “giving is a form of worship to Allah.”

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Olaniyan retired as a Permanent Secretary from the Oyo state public service after 26 meritorious years of resourcefulness and dedication to work. While in office, he exhibited a high degree of honesty and integrity. These characteristics would go on to see him hold several more sensitive positions, making him work closely with about 11 governors who have held sway in the state. He is a hard-working man who has little tolerance for lazy people.

Few gave him a chance when he decided to join politics. However, the Omoluabi attribute of courage would not let him back down. Despite the challenges, betrayals and disappointments that he encountered, he stood his ground. His commitment and resolve to serve could not be shaken. It is said that you can’t keep a good man down, so too no one can keep a true Omoluabi down. Raufu Aderemi Olaniyan is a true Omoluabi.

Challenges are the tonic that energise Olaniyan to excel. If you must be his friend, never mention before him that a project can not be done or a dream can not be achieved.

Though a practising Muslim, his generosity is not religious-sensitive. Olaniyan is kind and generous to all. He would attend to a Christian as he would attend to a Muslim. Churches and mosques across the state are beneficiaries of his large heartedness.

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“Ka so oro ka ba be, ni iyi Omoluabi” ( An Omoluabi keeps his words). An Omoluabi will keep a promise, come what may. He never lets his friends down, he never forgets a promise. He is man who is always loyal to those who are his followers no matter how lowly placed.

Often times, I am truly humbled for his love for the down trodden and how he is quick to call them “my friends”.

Though Raufu Olaniyan, by every standard, is a success story, he is yet very humble.

Truly, Ralph Emerson Waldo was right when he said “a great man is always willing to appear little, though great”. Olaniyan is always ever willing to dine with the plebs.

As he marks his 60th birthday today, I pray that he will live as long as he wants and never want as long as he lives.

Happy Birthday my Boss, Benefactor and Mentor.

 

Omolere Omoetan
Senior Special Assistant Media
To Deputy Governor
Oyo State.

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Opinion

Oluwo Of Iwo In Royal Fiasco | By Rahaman Onike 

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When the news was first broke that Oba Rasheed Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo beat up another monarch, I thought the cynics were only trying to expose the royal father to public ridicule. Alas,the unfortunate incident which was reported to have occurred in the presence of AIG Bashir Makama, the State Police Commissioner and even the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in the state of Osun was neither denied by Oluwo nor the police authorities till this moment.

Ordinarily, the royal fathers as custodians of Yoruba culture and traditions shouldn’t have descended so low to engage themselves in physical combat even at the point of provocation. With the status and exalted stools occupied by the two traditional rulers,it is painful that the duo failed to guide their heritage jealously.

Regrettably, failure of Oluwo to toy a path of honour in overcoming his anger at the point of provocation, if any, has exposed their sacred mandate to public ridicule. Somehow, the unfortunate incident has diminished the honour, respect and dignity the stools of the two monarchs symbolise and command.

The current development is a further reminder of how  the name of Oluwo of Iwo has been associated with several controversies in the past. Rather than being a true symbol of Yoruba culture,values and tradition, he is either being accused of one misdemeanor today or other infraction tomorrow. No one cares about the antics and other intolerable public outbursts of Oluwo until his recent public misconduct.

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If the land tussle between the neighbouring towns of the spring state could not be resolved through amicable settlement, the matter should have been referred to the court of law. I agree that our traditional rulers are human-beings and could therefore have reasons to disagree.

This particular incident is more or less a theatre of absurdity, seeing the two traditional rulers fighting dirty and roughly in the public. if verbal argument between Oluwo of Iwo and Agbowu of Ogbagbaa is allowed to snowball into open confrontation,it shows the level of degeneration and moral laxities among the nation’s traditional rulers.

No matter the level of provocation, Oluwo should not have turned himself to a boxer. It saddens one heart to see two highly revered monarchs turning a peace meeting summoned by the police to a royal rumble. Even if no one speaks out against the shameful action of Oluwo, he should be courageous enough to cover his face in shame for ridiculing the stool of his forbears apart from the legal consequence of such inglorious behaviour in the public.

Regardless of the causative agent and irrespective of who actually provoked the situation, the action of Oluwo of Iwo remains condemnable. With the injury sustained by Oba Dhikrulahi Akinropo, the Agbowu of Ogbagbaa during the fiasco, the transgressor being the Oluwo in this circumstance should not be seen as being treated as a king who is above the law.

Failure to bring the controversial Oluwo to justice will become a bad precedence. Apart from the legal implications of assault occasioning harm, it is sacrilegious for a king to beat up another king either within or outside his domain.

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An open fight between the two royal fathers in which one ended in the hospital is highly ridiculous and could not be justified culturally and by ethical reasoning.

The continuous silence and philosophical calmness of Governor Isiaka Oyetola, the Governor of the spring state gives an impression that it is either His Excellency has overtly endorsed the reign of royal banditry in the state of Osun or probably the case of criminal assault is adjudged by the government as usual political matter.

In my view, none of the excuses given by Oluwo of Iwo to have turned himself to a boxer is reasonable enough to exonerate him of culpability. Someone needs to counsel Oluwo that the excuse that he only tried to defend himself against Agbowa’s attempt to stick his staff of office in his eyes seems to be a mere defence mechanism.

Since the royal rumble occurred in the state of Osun, the police authorities in whose presence the ugly incident happened has not made any public statement to deny or confirm the incident. If police could not made any statement twenty four hours after the royal fiasco, it may not be an aberration to accuse the police of connivance or negligence. This type of incident shouldn’t be handled whimsically or with levity because it can lead to communal crisis, if carelessly handled.

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What the incident further portend is that no one is saved even in the custody of the police, if assault of that magnitude could be successfully carried out in the presence of AIG and other top government functionaries.

The incident also raises the question of several unresolved land and boundary disputes among communities in Nigeria. With the current trend in the country, land disputes cannot be resolved by physical combat rather the parties in such conflicts should learn to approach the court of law once peaceful resolution seems to be impossible.

The state government must equally have an holistic look at the immediate and remote causes of land disputes in the state of Osun for the state to achieve sustainable peace, progress and development.

 

Rahaman Onike, Public Affairs Analyst writes from Oyo town, Oyo State.

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Opinion

Can Amotekun Be A Threat to Non – Yorubas? | By Abba Dukawa

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, argued that security “is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the Federal Government of Nigeria. He added that: “No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence.”

The argument he made was that military and paramilitary outfits to defend Nigeria and its citizens is determined by the Constitution. “no State Government, whether singly or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organization or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.

As we all know, the primary responsibility of government at any level is the protection of lives and property of the citizen. In carrying out this function, the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing. It is without doubt that in the past decade, particularly, the current policing administration in our dear country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of our domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.

In achieving this noble goal, the police, the armed forces, and the court of law have swung into action with a view to protect the rights and liberties of Nigerian citizens and its residents within the country. Individuals’ conducts and behaviours living together and within the Nigerian society have been regulated in order for them to conform to the laid down rules and regulations, even as those violating the laws are punished.

Many writers argue that many State governments established such organazations like Kaduna State security outfit known as the “Kaduna State Vigilance Service” to assist security agencies to tackle criminality. The Sokoto State Government also established a local security outfit called “Yan Banga,” which operates in almost all the villages in the state to track criminals and hand them over to security agencies for prosecution. In Zamfara State, it established ‘Yan Sakai’ Local Vigilantes. Kano State has established the Hisbah Corps in 2003. In Borno State, the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was created under the last administration called BOYES (Borno Youth Volunteers). They work in collaboration with the military to fight Boko Haram. Also working for the security of the state are local hunters and vigilante groups which have been around even before insurgency.

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The other North East States have similar outfits. In Taraba State, the Taraba Marshalls is a local security outfit set up by the state government in 2018 to tackle insecurity and other violent crimes. Rivers State Government’s Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Ebonyi State Government also has the Neighbourhood Watch Group with membership drawn from the 13 local government areas of the state to complement the efforts of security agencies to control crimes and other security challenges in the state.

Since the return of civilian administration in the coyntry, Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the activities of ethnic and regional militia, vigilantes, and other armed groups in the last few years. One of the better-known of these groups is the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC) in the southwest which campaigns to protect the interests of the Yoruba ethnic group and seeks autonomy for the Yoruba people. The OPC is a complex organization which has taken on several different roles as it has adapted to the changing political and security environment in Nigeria.

Therefore federal government should do something to avert serious insecurity which Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Operation Amotekun may cause as the case. Nigerians have not forgotten that OPC was responsible for numerous human rights abuses and acts of violence, and its members have killed or injured hundreds of unarmed civilians In its spheres of activity-ethnic militancy and vigilantism- and fighting crimes.

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The most widespread killings by the OPC took place in the context of clashes between Yoruba, Hausa’s and other ethnic groups, which reached a peak during 2000 and 2002. However, violence and human rights abuses continued in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Between these years, Nigerians witnessed how OPC activities ranging from political agitation for Yoruba autonomy and promotion of Yoruba culture to violent confrontation with members of other ethnic groups resided in the South Western states in the name of vigilantism and crime-fighting.

How sure are we that Amotekun will not commit the same large-scale killings by the OPC in 2003. The clashes between OPC and other ethnic groups especially Hausas living in the southwest and how the southwest governors and the promoters of Amotekun will act to avert ethnic tensions which may likely arise. My concern on the formation of Amotekun is not personal but on safety of other ethnic groups living in the south west. There is likelyhood that members of Amotekun will commit large scale human right abuses based on ethnic differences. Finally, chairman of the South West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said there is no going back on the operation of the regional security agency, Amotekun, which they are prepared to pursue to its logical conclusion. Governor Akeredolu emphasised that the governors of the region were committed to improved security and are particularly keen to address the rising wave of banditry, kidnapping and farmers and herders’ clashes. The stage is therefore set for a major confrontation between the Federal Government and the South West States.

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I blame previous administrations for not doing the needful in making sure that the Nigerian federation is kept intact by ensuring that law and order are maintained. It is one of the important responsibilities of the federal government to bring peace and tranquillity in the nation. However, Federal Government has for decades ignored State governors setting up security agencies all in the name of supporting security agencies in their respective States.

 

 

Abba Dukawa, Public Affairs Analyst and Media Practitioner writes from Kano State.

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