Wednesday April 23rd, 2014
Wednesday April 23rd, 2014
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Why Jonathan must run in 2015

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:46 am   /   Comments

JonaMua

“You can’t beat something with nothing.” American Baseball Team Manager; after his team lost seventeen games in a row.”

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“Why is Dele Sobowale introducing religion into politics?”— (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:59 am   /   Comments

APC-toon

I wrote the first part of this series on Sunday, March 30, 2014. On Monday, March 31, 2014, THISDAY published a lead story alleging that a Muslim-Muslim ticket was being planned by the All Progressive Congress, APC. According to the paper, General Buhari (rtd) is proposed to be the presidential candidate, while Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would be the Vice Presidential candidate. I smiled; because it was no news to me. First, I have been informed about the development a few days before. One of the two had visited someone in Abuja; and, he made the point that ‘ANYBODY CAN DEFEAT JONATHAN’ [capitals mine]. And on that basis, it was decided that A Muslim-Muslim ticket was safe – after all Christians voted overwhelmingly for the Abiola-Kingibe ticket. Christians, again, failed to protest, vigorously, the Buhari-Idiagbon military leadership – both of which were Muslim-Muslim teams. I had smiled when this was mentioned to me – because I expected it. Why? Let me explain. But, first, permit me to make two pertinent comments.

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“Why is Dele Sobowale introducing religion into politics?”

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

religions

Ordinarily, I would not have tried to offer any explanations to those asking this question, except that last week, the matter was raised by the Publisher of VANGUARD, our dear Uncle Sam, in Abuja. We had gone to the nation’s capital for different reasons and accidentally met at the VANGUARD office. On our way to lunch (for me a free lunch which no ajeru Area Boy would turn down) Uncle Sam informed me that he was with some friends who were “disappointed” that Dele Sobowale, who writes mostly philosophical articles, would descend so low as to start introducing religion into politics.

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Is the National Conference doomed before it starts? – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:20 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo and the Conference Chairman, Justice Legbo Kutigi  (4r) while the Speaker TIONAL CONFERENCE House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal (3l); Vice Chairman of the Conference, Prof. Boolaji Akinyemi (3r); Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Aloma Mukhtar (4l) and other dignitaries watched in a group photograph with delegates after the inauguration of the 2014 National Conference of the People of Nigeria at the National Judicial Institute, Airport Road, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 17/03/2014

Forgive me for breaking up the article IF I DON’T MAKE IT. The National Conference is far more important than anyone’s private life – including mine. Two weeks ago, I had written the first part of this piece with a definite bias which must again be declared up front. I want the 2014 CONFAB to succeed. As the publisher of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr Nduka Obiagbena, had pointed out, this CONFAB cannot solve all of our problems. No CONFAB can do that because previous military governments had endorsed constitutions which had led us into the dead end in which we find ourselves.

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If I don’t make it (1)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

File photo

Words of wisdom, as you will soon discover. If I wake up on the morning of May 8, this year, I will beam a benevolent smile on anybody saying to me “go and die”. What else is there to do? On that day, I would have broken a family jinx or curse as a result of which no male child in the Sobowale family, in two hundred years, had made it to 60. On that day I will be 70.

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Ibibios take on Akpabio for control of Aks –1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

*Akpabio

Call it calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it; or what you like. But, the Ibibios, who constitute more than sixty five per cent of Akwa Ibom State, have regrouped under former Governor Victor Attah and they have jettisoned zoning. The next governor of Akwa Ibom State will be an Ibibio. Part of the reason for their change of mind on zoning is contained in the allegations quoted above.

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Resurgence of child trafficking in Akwa Ibom State

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:54 am   /   Comments

CHILD-TRAFFICKING

At least two people, one alive and one departed, must be shaking their heads, with sadness and disbelief, when reading that story about Akwa Ibom. This was one tragedy they struggled for eight years to bring to an end in the state. And they largely succeeded such that by 2007, Akwa Ibom state was rid of child traffickers and baby factories. Now, it appears as if the progress made by 2007 had been dissipated in another eight years. The most important question which should bother all of us is: if the progress which we see daily advertised about the state is real, why are people still engaged in this trade/ why are kids still being treated worse than slaves? It was not always like this; not in 2007.

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A tale of two sets of prostitutes in Abuja

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:42 am   /   Comments

Abuja-asewo

The authorities of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, ably led by the Honourable Minister, have been working very hard to rid the nation’s capital of undesirable elements. Ever since that great friend of poor people, Malam El-Rufia, formerly of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, became Minister, they have been demolishing homes and shops, as well as the dwellings of poor people, which they call shanties – as if any really destitute person can afford palatial mansions. Malam El-Rufai is now a leading member of the All Progressive Alliance, APC, the opposition party – some of whose governors have also been demolishing buildings like the demon.

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Are you losing money on the NSE? You deserve it

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:55 am   /   Comments

Unlike the Stock market, Forex trading is Online

Millions of Nigerians are, once again losing billions of naira on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In the last three weeks alone, about ten per cent of the value in January had been lost and more losses are on the way. It is on occasions such as this when I wonder if writing for Nigerians is not a bloody waste of time.

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Bristol Hotel revival: Lagos CBD gets a boost

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:01 am   /   Comments

The regular readers of this page must forgive me for postponing, once again, the continuation of the series on the INHERITORS – the second generations of Nigerians who allowed great enterprises bequeathed to them to crumble. The next would have been the LAWSON Group of Companies, among which was the ECOBANK, once headed by Mr Kolapo Lawson. The slide down the greasy slope of misfortune for the group started several years ago. But, this is not the time for that.

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To Alhaji Bamanga Tukur with gratitude

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Most often a person in high office, public or private, does not know who his true friends are, while in good standing – until he starts to slide down the greasy slope of fortune. By then it is too late. My sympathies are always with those who have been used and discarded – like tissue paper. Alhaji, your night came; when you were forced to resign the Chairmanship of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP

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PDP, APC : Two wrecked boats on rescue mission —1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:50 am   /   Comments

APC-PDP

Phil Graham, late Publisher of the Washington Post, who committed suicide by shooting himself, once described journalism as “the first draft of history”. I am neither a journalist nor historian but it is my hope that some time in the future, historians, if history which Obasanjo banished from our schools is restored, will read this. It will reveal to them how miraculous it was that after the 2014-2015 political upheavals there was a country called Nigeria left for them to call their own. It was all well and good for General Buhari in 1983, as the military Head of State to state that: “This is the only country we have”. Most Nigerians, in 2014, are apprehensive, more than at any other time that good old Chinua Achebe might have left a curse with the title of his last and extremely controversial book – THERE WAS A COUNTRY. In 2014, everything which could lead a fragile federation to disintegrate is happening without any countervailing forces to reassure the citizenry that all will be well.

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 6

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo (4th right) and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Dr. Femi Okurounmu while other committee members watched shortly after the inauguration of the Committee at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.

The Jukuns probably serve best to illustrate the problems of small ethnic groups strung across several states. To the best of my knowledge, they can be found in Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba and parts of Cross River States – in the Katsina Ala area. And like the Fulani/Hausa, they have been involved in ethnic conflicts in every state. How will their representative(s) be chosen? And, in the event of a break-up of Nigeria, where will they go?

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Advice to President Jonathan on new jet

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:42 am   /   Comments

File: Photo NDA—From left: Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State, welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D'ivoire at the Kaduna Airport for the Nigerian Defence Academy convocation, weekend.

I stake my claim to advise my President on two things. First, I am a citizen of Nigeria, one of the 170 million souls you now lead. I don’t want to be led astray or into another nationwide conflict. Second, I belong to that group of Nigerians, called Area Boys, who live strictly on our own brand of street wisdom. In any situation, we always know when we are beaten before the fight starts and we tactically withdraw. You see, my President, there is nothing more wasteful of lives and opportunities than fighting for lost causes. You are about to get engaged in one unnecessary battle.

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 5

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:36 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo (4th right) and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Dr. Femi Okurounmu while other committee members watched shortly after the inauguration of the Committee at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.

Our collective tendency to think of Nigeria in terms of WA-ZO-BIA (Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo) is probably responsible for the enthusiasm with which some of us embrace break-up of Nigeria or even confederation. Some might even think that the British met us neatly divided into East, West and Northern regions. So why not simply return to those enclaves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not even the Yorubas and Igbos formed one nation before 1914. However, one thing is clear: breaking up along regional lines will leave the nation emerging from the “North” totally landlocked. That unfortunately will be the least of its problems.

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 4

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:41 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Dr Okurounmu and I share at least one thing in common. We were both recipients of American government scholarship in the 1960s which enabled us to attend universities in America. It is quite possible we also share in common taking a course in Speed Reading, which enables the individual to read lots of text materials at five to ten times that of an average person and still get the facts right. That speed reading ability paid off for me four years ago when I was engaged by clients to go through the PIB which the Federal Government was trying to force through the National Assembly and stop its passage

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 3

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:05 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Last week I pointed out some of the reasons the Southwest might not be as peaceful as people think in the event of a break-up. Let me repeat that it was deliberate; I don’t want anybody reading ethnic hatred into what I would say about their own zones or ethnic groups. As it turned out I am learning about some ethnic groups for the first time in my life. Those asking for a national conference of ethnic nationalities must now begin to think of how they will handle the enormous task of mediating the demands that will come from all of them. It is not going to be easy

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:01 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Femi Fani-Kayode and Tunde Fagbenle, without saying it, implicitly, believe that the Southwest will be better off on its own. To be candid; they have reasons for the optimism. The “Oduduwa Nation” (for lack of a better name), will be an oil producing nation – Ondo, Lagos and Ogun have oil. It has on the average the best collection of educated manpower and its educational institutions from primary to tertiary are the best nationwide. So, on the face of it, nothing stops it from becoming another Croatia or Pakistan. Nothing, that is, except guarantee of perpetual peace

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:19 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Like people on sickbeds, Nigerians are once again getting ready to toss from side to side, without asking if the problem is with the beds or themselves. Pity.

Do we need a National Conference, sovereign or not? The answer is neither “yes” nor “no” for the simple reason that we have failed woefully as a nation to raise a set of politicians who would make any form of government work. We had tried three forms of government since independence – parliamentary, military and presidential. None of them had been able to develop this nation to its full potentials – not at the national, regional or state levels. None.

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Where is the honour in Nigerian politics?

  /   in Frankly Speaking 6:55 pm   /   Comments

Anambra Supplementary Election: INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru  Jega addressing pressmen , announcing November 30 for Supplementary election at  Anambra State  while National Commissioner Lawrence Nwuruku looks on in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

Because I am a Christian Evangelist and have boldly made several predictions on these pages, which have turned out to be true, unlike those who wait for a disaster and then call a press conference to claim they predicted it, let me start with the last among the things which Ghandi predicted would destroy any nation – “Worship without sacrifice”. In my entire life, and my family was deeply involved in politics since the First Republic, I have never known of a religious leader, Muslim or Christian, who had ever, so openly, wrapped himself around a Prime Minister or President as the present CAN President.

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Behold the world’s largest Slave Republic – Nigeria

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:45 am   /   Comments

iver Niger Bridge, major gateway to the South-East and South-South will ‘rest ’for three days, starting dusk today

By contrast, when Nigeria became a republic in 1963, neither the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, nor anybody else, warned Nigerians in the same vein. It was just assumed that a democratic republic, once pronounced and a constitution written would guarantee and perpetuate liberty. Unfortunately, for our founding fathers (Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo and Azikiwe included), they were the first victims of their collective folly. The democratic republic they pronounced in 1963 was demolished by a small band of armed adventurers; who promptly sent democracy in Nigeria to the dustbin of history. It has remained there till today.

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Lagos State bedroom cabinet 2015

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:30 am   /   Comments

*Exco in session

“Power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance”. Max Weber, 1864-1920.

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You deserve the insults of don’t give a damn government (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 6:34 pm   /   Comments

Stella Oduah at the House of Reps hearing..

That we deserve Dr Ebele Jonathan and his Ministers is not in doubt. First, we voted for him in 2011, overwhelmingly, based on promises – mostly now unfulfilled. The “breath of fresh air” was one of those promises. If what we are watching, at the hearings in the National Assembly, turns our stomachs and is malodorous to our noses, blame not Jonathan; blame us. A man cannot act beyond his abilities. For any leader, the most important decisions concern human resource choices. The President’s fate, like those of Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, anywhere are determined by the people he invites to top office to assist in executing his programmes.

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You deserve the insults of don’t give a damn government (1)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:56 am   /   Comments

When the going was good...President Goodluck Jonathan (right) and former President Olusegun Obasanjo

The PUNCH of Wednesday October 23, 2013 was for me particularly remarkable. Its reports – regular columns and opinions – summarized all Nigerians need to know about the government they overwhelmingly elected in 2011. Many long term readers of this column would recall my strident calls for Nigerians to massively reject the PDP, including Jonathan, at the polls. My reason was simple. Based on information at my command, some of which was published in my book, PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED, Nigeria could never get out of the mess in which we are stuck as long as the PDP, as presently constituted, is in power at the centre. And, by power, I mean the legislature as well as the Presidency.

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From Barbados with love for Nigerians

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:08 am   /   Comments

obong_victor_attah

Tuesday October 29, 2013 will mark exactly one year since Mrs Nenyin Alison Attah, the former First Lady of Akwa Ibom State departed this world for eternal life. For the two children, Felicia and Christopher, and for His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, the Father of Akwa Ibom State, it has been a long year; made longer by the absence of the centre-piece of every home – a loving wife and mother. Life had ceased to be the same for them; but life must go on.
But it was not only the husband and kids who will miss her. Eno, the house help of over three decades, who through the generousity of the former First Lady, had sent two kids to university and is the proud owner of three bedroom bungalow, with boys quarters attached, had refused to go. Like the Biblical Ruth she had decided that even in death “Your people shall be my people”. She represents a lot of people who are still to come to terms that their long term benefactor had gone – never to return.

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Lagos State governorship 2015: A matter of numbers

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

Subsidy-crowd

“The population of Lagos State is estimated at 20 million with 10 million being Christians. The ten million have no more control over their lives than ten million cows being driven about by nomads”. Dele Sobowale, September 26, 2013, at the Seminar organized by Christian Conscience at Alausa, Ikeja.

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No, not Tunji Okusanya; he shouldn’t die

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:26 am   /   Comments

*The late Tunji Okusanya

Why am I writing a tribute to someone who was unknown to me until May of this year? And when we first met, I discovered that he was just about old enough to be my second child? Yet, in less than six months, I had become so fond of him that when the news of his sudden death in the Associated Airline crash reached me at Ibadan, my regular refuge from the chaotic life in Lagos, tears came tumbling out of my eyes uncontrollably for hours – as if he was my son. In reality, right from our first conversation on the phone, which started with him calling, he always called me “Daddy”. Even, when I told him that “Uncle will be more appropriate”, he had replied, “Sir, you are like a Daddy to a lot of us educated young ones around Campus Square. We are proud that you are one of our own; and we read you every Sunday religiously”.

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Calls for finance minister’s resignation

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:15 am   /   Comments

Okonjo-Iweala

In 2008, I wrote two articles titled “WHEN GENIUS FAILS”. The first was about the former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr Ndidi Onyuike warning about the imminent collapse of the Stock Exchange that year. It happened as predicted. The second was related to the crisis in the banking sector even as Professor Soludo was pretending that all was well with the banks. Today, everybody knows better. Where are OCEANIC, INTERCONTINENTAL, BANK PHB etc today? This article also might have been titled “WHEN GENIUS FAILS -3” and it would have been appropriate because the Federal Minister of Finance is no longer the highly respected figure she was in 2003-2005. Her return is shaping out to be some sort of personal disaster for her for many reasons – mostly political.

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Obong Victor Attah: Father of Akwa Ibom State

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

obong_victor_attah

On some of her visits to Nigeria from Barbados, she had been known to sit next to IBB, our future Head of State and playfully pull his ears while saying: “Why did a handsome boy like you get into the army? You want to get yourself killed”

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Forget Ghana, try Nigeria’s best universities – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:38 am   /   Comments

A Cross Section of the Final Year Students  Photo By Diran Oshe

The story continued by reporting that Mr Fidelis Chukwujindu and his accomplice, Mrs Ngozi Ayoha, operating University College Hospital Ogboko, Ideato, P.O. Box 1960 (Nigeria’s year of independence if you don’t remember), Orlu, Imo State, had collected N8,000 from prospective candidates this year alone for application fees alone.

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Forget Ghana, try Nigeria’s best universities – 1A

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

A Cross Section of the Final Year Students  Photo By Diran Oshe

“0803-307-2836 …You are quite right about the quality of private universities in Ghana and those in Nigeria and it’s no brainer to say there’s no comparison. Most of the ones in Ghana are not better than glorified secondary schools in terms of infrastructure and course contents. I should know, because I was in that country to inspect a few on behalf of my son…Mike Oteri.

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Forget Ghana. Consider Nigeria’s best private universities –1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:15 am   /   Comments

Asuu cartoon

Every monumental task I have assigned myself on this page, since the first article appeared in August 1994, always calls for too quotations. It invariably marks my departure from the tedium of present economic, social and political crises on which everybody is focused – especially my co-columnists writing for every paper.

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