24 hours to the assumption of office of Justice Aloma Muktar as the new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), this column opined that it would be difficult to stop justice for sale in Nigeria. Some readers may have at the time felt that such a ‘pessimistic’ piece on the eve of a new era was not fair. They have a point especially against the backdrop of Aloma’s personal sterling qualities.
On September 19, 2012, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega announced that his commission had commenced the printing of 40 million permanent voters’ cards. The cards would contain security features such as barcode, hologram, micro text, fingerprints, contactless/embedded chip with printed voter details and photograph. Another set of 30 million cards according to Jega would be ready by 2013.
History records that in 1929, a massive riot against colonial maladministration was held in Aba. The protesters had many grudges.
In a typical society, the maintenance of law and order which may involve a drastic crackdown on some elements in the society is essentially a civil matter. It is not expected to involve the military; hence most countries hardly call out their military to deal with such matters that are clearly less than war. It used to be so in Nigeria as every infraction was usually left for the police to handle.
Exactly a week ago, I had the privilege of attending a unique ceremony back home in my community of 3 villages. It was an interesting home coming event as many of us in diaspora were in attendance. One of the big guests happened to be a former legislator.
Going by the frequency of debates in Nigeria, arguing back and forth over an issue is now a visible aspect of the nation’s culture. Not long ago, those in favour or against the introduction of Islamic Banking shouted themselves hoarse over its desirability or otherwise.
At the beginning of a venture, certain persons who show ample brightness sometimes end up badly thereby losing the accolades they had received.
At the beginning of a venture, certain persons who show ample brightness sometimes end up badly thereby losing the accolades they had received. Indeed, when the indictment of any person is done or endorsed by the Judiciary, withdrawing the honours does not call for controversy.
One thing that Nigeria is not good at and which many of its citizens seem to overlook is the issue of figures and statistics. It is rather difficult to run into any Nigerian figure that is reliable. Even when it is arranged for us, by outsiders, it suffers the same fate because of the numerous versions by different bodies and also because the helpers do not know many things about us.
Before the July 14,2012 Governorship election in Edo State, three different ‘seers’ reportedly saw many sides of the same vision. The first said the incumbent would not win; the second said it is the opposition that would win, while the third said the sitting Governor would win but would not be sworn in. Now that the Governor has been reelected, the so-called seers may have to change their lenses.
On Tuesday July 17 2012, Governor Fashola of Lagos State publicly scolded, two military officers for driving on the dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane in Marina, Lagos. Many people who commented on the story condemned the conduct of the officers and expressed delight that the Governor did not allow them to get away with the offence. I agree with the sentiments.
One reason why Nigeria’s political system is so rough is because of its winner-takes-all arrangement. The loser of an election in Nigeria is consigned to the sideline of a beggar where he gets nothing. As a result, our politicians do whatever can get them into office and seek to remain there for as long as destiny permits.
The popular saying that change is the only thing that is constant in life is difficult to sustain in Nigeria because things hardly change here. Indeed, the few changes which occur in our public affairs are usually negative. Thus, the expectation that the assumption of office, tomorrow, of a new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), would bring positive changes to the nation’s justice delivery system may be elusive.
On Saturday, June 25, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan gave a solemn assurance at a political rally in Benin City that the Edo State Governorship election of July 14, 2012 will be a ‘one man one vote’ affair and that it would be free and fair. Some two weeks earlier, Vice President Namadi Sambo in a similar rally at the same venue had made the same pledge.
Nothing has of recent given Nigerians more anxiety than the unprecedented high level of insecurity in the nation. Any one who watched the 2012 ministerial platform where the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), reeled out incredibly high figures of such crimes as robbery and kidnapping adding that 766 firearms and 31,175 ammunitions were recovered from suspects in year 2011 must have become apprehensive especially with the spate of bombings in parts of the country.
Last Tuesday, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Nnamidi Okorie Affiah, reportedly laid to rest the speculations making the rounds that corps members serving in Edo State had been compromised to work for the incumbent Governor.
One unsettled issue in Nigeria is the nation’s population figures. The nation’s census results including those of the most recent one which gave a population of 140,003,542 in December 2006 have been disputed. The exact numerical strength of the Nigerian nation has therefore remained a subject of controversy.
During the tenure of Tafa Balogun as Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, there was the famous anti-crime strategy known as “Operation fire for fire” which was designed to check the upsurge of criminal activities at the time. Tafa was passionate about it and his administration made much effort to impress its efficacy on the people.
Students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and other interest groups who some days ago vehemently objected to the renaming of that University after the late statesman and democrat, Moshood Abiola (MKO) may have their reasons.
One unique feature of democratic government is the principle of separation of powers which recognizes three distinct branches of government- the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary with clearly defined functions and powers.
Last week, General Muhammadu Buhari made what looked like a ‘seditious’ statement to which the federal government reacted in 2 ways. First, it cautioned all politicians and not just Buhari against unguarded statements. Second, it used perhaps more unguarded and intemperate language on the former Head of State.
Julius, my brother, says he is justifiably upset with me for staying back in Abuja instead of returning to our home town-Benin City- after retiring from the Public Service. He imagines that if every Benin citizen in Diaspora declines to return home, our city may shortly become a ghost town.
At the 2010 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) no less an expert than Sam Ohuabunwa in a lecture titled “Governance, Economic Planning and Development in Nigeria: The way forward” underscored the generally agreed viewpoint of Nigerians that their nation has for long underperformed in virtually every facet of national development.
On April 10, 2012, a Presidential Committee on the Rationalization and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies submitted its report. Since then, many critics have hit hard on the report while some have used the opportunity to vilify the person of the committee’s chairman, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, a former head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
The revelation that the rationale of this year’s Appropriation Act was distorted through the jacking up of the budgets of some sectors is rather unfortunate. Thus, while signing the budget on Friday April 13, 2012, an angry President Jonathan threatened to sack heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who lobbied to get their budgets increased by the legislature.
The Military in Mali was no doubt living in the past when on March 21, 2012, it imagined that if it effected a change in its nation’s government, civilians would once again be as gullible as before to rejoice over it. That didn’t happen and is not likely to happen any more in any part of Africa as everyone now appears to know that government by the gun is anachronistic.
The process of selecting the next President of the World Bank has reached its final stage as three nominated candidates are being interviewed in Washington DC, from tomorrow, Monday April 09, 2012. The candidates are Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala; Jose Antonio Ocampo, former finance minister of Colombia and currently a professor at Columbia University in New York and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a South Korea-born, naturalised American who is the current President of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
If the current Senate President, Senator David Mark decides to contest the next Presidential election, he would surely be missed for his contributions to legislation in Nigeria, particularly his leadership of the National Assembly for two consecutive terms. This is thus a good junction to draw his attention to a subject which if reorganized under his watch can leave his name in gold.
Each time I hear the slogan which says ‘the Police is your friend’ I am always short of evidence in support of it not-with-standing that that I have never personally had a raw deal with the Police. I think poor public opinion and bad press may have done the damage.