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The Passing Scene

We would need to unite in order to live peacefully

unity

In this climate of change, or the clamour for it, two words often come up to describe aspects of the desired new order. They are restructuring and diversification. They are no doubt different in their meaning, although an overlap may occur in their execution.

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Senator Oluremi Tinubu and Dino Melaye

Nothing will happen

The man called Dino Melaye may never grow up. Whatever might have been the seamy nature of his upbringing, good fortune placed him in circumstances that would have afforded him a re-birth. He became, first, a member of the House of Representatives, and then a member of the Senate, the highest legislative assembly of the land.

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PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI

Negotiation, a must

Playing host to a group of officials, mostly of Northern extraction recently, to mark the end of the Month of Ramadan and to celebrate the Eid el Fitr festival, President Muhammadu Buhari grew ebullient in the spirit of the occasion. He declared that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable. The remark has given rise to reactions over a wide spectrum of judgment. Opinions are of course divided into two main camps—those who agree, and those who do not. Swinging around the fence are also those who leave you unclear of whether their yea be yea, and their nay be nay.

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President Buhari

They shall not cling together…”

You know the story. The account is rendered in the Holy Bible of how Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (605-562) had a dream, the details of which he could not readily recall. He was troubled. So he called for all his wise men and sorcerers and magicians, Chaldeans all who were reputed to tell the meanings of dreams, to give him the interpretation of the dream. It would have been a fairly routine matter, but for one snag: the king could not remember the dream. All the same, he demanded the meaning of, it to the consternation of his “technocrats” of the esoteric.

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NigerDelta

On the verge of disappearance

This country is going through a lot of stress at the moment. The proliferation of militant groups into which the tide of brigands has been flowing is gradually becoming a fixed feature on the terrain of our lives. It has removed a lot from our individual safety as well as the general security of many communities all over the country. When the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta erupted a few years back, it seemed to have a steady vision —the empowerment of the people of that area. It also had a cause. The grievance was, and is still, perceptible: the source of the nation’s wealth had nothing to show for the exploitation of the resources which left the people impoverished, while citizens of other regions benefited from the wealth thus produced. The insistence of the people thus negatively affected was left unaddressed chiefly because those in power were in the majority, and were also from the profitably affected areas. It took the episodes of Ken Saro-Wiwa and Adaka Boro to direct the sufferings and resentments of the people towards a violent resolution.

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Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate

Witch-hunting

One of the first statements made by Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, as he sat before the Code of Conduct Tribunal a few months back, was that he would not have been in the dock if he had not been the Senate President. He wanted the point to be very clear, though unnecessarily. The truth is actually that he would not have been there but for the way in which he became the Senate President, not just for being the Senate President… .

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Keshi and Amodu

One more round

It can no longer be any kind of news to you that, like a multiple thunderbolt, the death of three icons ripped through our sports world within a matter of a few days. From the United States of America, we learnt about the home call of Muhammad Ali, who was the boxing heavyweight champion of the world three times. He said with his mouth that he was the “greatest”, and made the world accept it in no uncertain manner.

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Ali

‘Float like a butterfly’

‘’You want me to do what the white man says, and go fight a war against some people I don’t know nothing about—get some freedom for some other people when my own people can’t get theirs? You want me to be scared of the white man, I’ll go and get two arms shot off and ten medals so you can give me a small salary and pat my head and say, ‘Good boy, he fought for his country.’ Everyday they die in Vietnam for nothing.’’

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President Buhari

Restructuring

The din of the enthusiasm to have a say about the performance—or non-performance—of the first year of the Buhari administration, has subsided in connection with some issues. It will no doubt linger for a while longer over some other issues that need to be further addressed, if they are subjected to the lack of urgency that has been a noticeable habit of the government’s approach to some pressing issues over the past year. Although the response to the quality of governance has not been resoundingly encouraging among the populace, as gathered from reactions through the mass media, the plea for patience seems to have become mixed with emotions roused by disappointment over unfulfilled promises.

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President Buhari

Just one year ago

It is one year ago and there is no denying that the tide of enthusiasm upon which we rode at the beginning has found a significant ebb. The hopes dictated the theme which flared out as the desire for a change in our daily lives as citizens of this nation. The areas of insufficiency had risen to a choking level with little expectation of relief; the vicious grip of evil tended to suffocate us. Policies which seemed aimed at improving our lot were casually up-ended to discharge a filthy stream of discomfort.

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of a 2-day National Economic Council Retreat at the Statehouse Conference Centre on 21st March 2016.

A seemingly magnanimous touch

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been reported as saying that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has never been opposed to the policy of petrol subsidy. But, on the contrary, the President is on record to have been vehemently opposed to it all along. He simply did not believe in it. He has even yet shown no noticeable enthusiasm about its acclaimed removal. Osinbajo has, himself also said that there was not much to be removed as subsidy, anyway, while claiming that its removal, no matter how little, would still be a significant contribution to the health of the ailing economy.

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Police brutality

A matter for the police

Pa Lot, a venerable pastor, parliamentarian and politician of the First Republic, spoke about the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in jocular terms, when I met him some decades ago in Jos. He was well into his 80s himself. He narrated how the herdsmen would arrive unannounced at a particular time of the year and would graze their cattle peacefully for a period of time, Then they would depart for greener pastures without any notice with only a part of the herd, leaving an appreciable number with only a few herdsmen in charge.

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President Muhammadu Buhari; Saraki, Senate President and Dogara, Speaker

A huge, hollow masquerade

You may recall that the last National Assembly convened with some youthful members of the House of Representatives wondering dangerously aloud as to why they were considered the “lower” house to the Senate, the other arm of our bicameral legislature. I too pondered why. Eventually, the wondering and the pondering generally faded into oblivion. For me, it was a lingering thought. What really makes one chamber superior to the other?

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Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, GMD, NNPC

Aspects of change

It would appear that the one and only Jagaban, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and Asiwaju of the Yorubas committed a slight faux pas in his public upbraid of Ibe Kachikwu’s utterances about not being a magician. Of course, the Minister of State for Petroleum,Dr Kachikwu is nothing of the sort as we all know, including the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Petroleum Resources who appointed him faultlessly to the position, in the first place.

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Dalung

A necessary strand of development

My compliments to Solomon Dalung, the Honourable Minister of Sports.His is a truly “goodly heritage”, as the Holy Bible might have called it. Football, especially at the seat where he is called upon to inhabit at the moment, has had several colourful and successful occupants and most of them did not have a notable connection with the game, sports generally before their arrival either.

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